August 2011

Well, I continue to learn (or at least have my point of view challenged) by reading from and about the saints. (more…)

What we have is a story.

Yes.  It’s God’s story — even Jesus’ story.

But it’s a story without any power at all if it’s not also our story.

And it’s not that we don’t have a story.  In my experience, we all do.  We just don’t seem to recognize our own story.  And we don’t seem to want to tell it.

All of us have our reasons for being members of our particular church family.  When asked, I have yet to find one person at St. George’s who couldn’t tell me why they were here.  But almost none of them recognize their own story as a story of faith.  Which it is.

I wonder sometimes if it’s simply a (mis)perceived dualism between realms we see as “holy” and “secular” (when in fact it’s all one).  But somehow we fail to see God at work in our daily lives and work — even as we are drawn to God precisely because of our everyday life experiences.

And I’m not so much talking about the mystical here — seeing the whole of creation in a walnut or some such.  We just all seem to intuit, or experience, or whatever some kind of connections to something beyond ourselves — some kind of leading or guidance or caring …

Which I’m more and more convinced is what it’s all about.  Relationship.  Caring.  Love.

That’s our story.

That’s the difference maker.

This is so counter cultural that I simply couldn’t resist.  It comes from Joan Chittister’s The Rule of Benedict:  A Spirituality for the 21st Century:

Rabbi Mordecai said, “If a single coin is left over in my house at bedtime, I cannot fall asleep.  But if totally penniless, I sleep soundly, knowing that when the moment comes to awaken, I must immediately look to the Lord for aid.”  And the rabbi of Porissover taught, “If a person is poor and meek, it is easy for that one to be joyful, inasmuch as there is nothing to guard against losing.”

… We live in a culture that sees having things as the measure of our success.  We strive for a life that sees eliminating things as a measure of internal wealth.  Enough-ness is a value long dead in Western society.

I’ve seen variations of the second and third paragraph of the following prayer, without the first paragraph (which I’ve never seen before) attributed to St. Francis.  But seemingly this comes from Malcolm Muggeridge in Something Beautiful for God (about Mother Theresa).  Anyway, I think the first paragraph adds something:

Make us worthy, Lord, to serve our fellow men throughout the world who live and die in poverty and hunger.  Give them, through our hands, this day their daily bread, and by our understanding love give Peace and Joy. (more…)

Actually, when I wrote this sermon (for tomorrow) I titled it “Jesus Walks on the Water.”  but my sermon writing is somewhat stream of consciousness (often) and I ended up somewhere unexpected.  Reflecting on what I had written, I found myself thinking about how we, like Peter, walk on (or at least in) the waters of faith.  So here it is:

Be honest now.  What would you do – how would you react – if you were in the middle of a stormy lake, in a small boat, and you saw Jesus walking on the water towards you?

Or is this so common an occurrence that you don’t have to think about it? (more…)