Saturday, October 31, 2009

Wedding Banquet

Luke 14:1,7-11

On one occasion when Jesus was going to the house of a leader of the Pharisees to eat a meal on the sabbath, they were watching him closely. When he noticed how the guests chose the places of honour, he told them a parable. "When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not sit down at the place of honour, in case someone more distinguished than you has been invited by your host; and the host who invited both of you may come and say to you, 'Give this person your place,' and then in disgrace you would start to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit down at the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he may say to you, 'Friend, move up higher'; then you will be honoured in the presence of all who sit at the table with you. For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted."

This piece of scripture feels very close to me right now. As I finish seminary and watch my colleagues and compatriots prepare for ordination and for call, I find I am terrified that there is no place for me. I am disabled, legally and I cant jeopardize that. I need my medical benefits. I am also differently abled and living with chronic illness. With the condition of multiple sclerosis and I find each day, each changing season brings new challenges for my weak and bumbling body an soul. I have been trying to "pick" ministry which accomodates for my situation. In really reflecting on that, it seems somewhat disingenuous that I would have to work so hard to find a ministry. If I have the faith I profess all should have, then maybe I can let go of my fear and listen for God's message. I can choose the lowest seat and wait for God to show me where I am supposed to sit.

God grant me the ears to hear your words in me, the courage to know they are meant for me and not someone else and the grace and fortitude to not be distracted by fear.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Theology of Pink Flamingos

Once upon a time, a young seminarian tried to connect God to flamingo's. And it worked out pretty well. I haven't been able to find that sermon recently, but if I remember it even vaguely it went something like this.

flamingos are remarkable creatures that have survived over 3 million years without evolving because they occupy a unique niche. They are special and unchanged

they live in special places that most of us can only dream of visiting

we make "icons" of them to remember their specialness

the icons can cause controversy and annoyance

the thought of them in reality and in plastic makes me smile...just like the bobble body Jesus on my dashboard

anyway...that is the gist of it. I may revise it and preach it again. I kinda like it.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

I see said the blind man

I looked at sacred before blogging this morning and read todays lectionary. Blind Bartimaeus.....hmmmmm. For I was blind and you healed me Jesus. I feel that way in my own life these days. It is soooo easy to forget gratitude. So as of today I am adopting a attitude of gratitude. I will say Kate Braestrup's prayer before every meal and pray morning and evening prayers. Kate's prayer goes like this:

God, thank you for this food, and the hands that prepared it. Thank you for family and friends, Amen.

It doesn't get any more simple than that and it says it all. I love what a wise professor once said to me. Keep it simple when praying. Remember who you are praying to..the uncreated creator who knows all of our hearts and minds. Rambling on is preaching not praying. The five- six types of prayer....


well anyway, I forgot the rest...I got up too early this morning. When praying in the morning and at bedtime I hold people in prayer , I give great thanks for the many blessings in my life and I just talk to God for a while. It clears the head or the chest and gives me peace.

Thinking about these 5 or so prayers times during the day reminds me of Islamic tradition which is also an Abrahamic faith. (shares lineage from same Abraham of Genesis) Minus the ablutions (ritual washings), and prostration and praying toward mecca, this could be considered almost Islamish to pray 5 times a day.

I was thinking how fearful some Americans are of Muslims and think that freedom of religion means freedom to be any type of Christian denomination you want and maybe even Jewish but probably not. It pains me to think that a religion that holds fast praying 5 times a day to remember who you are and whose you are that you may keep good perspective, is not even understood on a very basic level by many of the people of my country.

May Jesus heal our eyes that we may see our brothers and sisters and neighbors not as a mirror reflection, but as they are: and love them as we are called to do.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Seagull and Miley Cyrus

Okay, when I did my first class of mentored practice and my first theological reflection for that class it was tough. I was serving at USM as an interfaith chaplain and when I imaged God after an interfaith fishbowl experience, God was a seagull in a dory off of Cliff Island. I cant imagine why that was. I was honest about that image and I even wrote the best reflective piece I could, but my MP partners kind of made fun of my image.

In my moments of clarity in these last few days, for the first time in 11 years of living in this house, a seagull has been hanging around. All of a sudden when my call seems to be integrating the presence of God or the Holy Spirit or just a bird that WAS NOT present in my yard before now is here. We have 15 turkeys regularly strutting through the yard which is FABULOUS.....but gulls..never do I remember one. Maybe this is an indication that I am whole again...that I survived the deconstruction process and then reintegration process successfully...I dont know. I feel whole again and I am not sure I ever felt whole.. My joy is back. And that is no small fact for someone dealing with the challenges of Chronic Illness that I face. I need more sleep. More joy, More friends and above all else...More God!

Its the climb. We will never meet perfection in this life.. Jesus the Christ offers us.....Its the Climb. God will be with us as we hike up that mountain...Like Moses we dont need to see the other side, because we are content knowing that whatever it is w do.....we are welcome to do it....we are welcome on this journey. Praise God..Amen

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Greatest Commandment

As I have been working on nailing down a disaster response plan for Dirigo State Church, I have and had been going through scripture in my head appropriate for basing a a state wide plan on and in some regards starting a ministry. As one of the core elements is reaching out within community and to neighbors, of course it would make sense to draw upon the great commandment. As I talked about this with my leadership team, I recently found out that some of them have a real prejudice against non Christians. Which makes me wonder, how do you perceive yourself as Christian when you openly hate others.

When you love God with your whole heart, mind and soul and you accept God as creator of all the earth, am I daft to assume God created ALL people? And then to have it said in three different Gospels, love your neighbor as yourself...that doesn't just mean the Smiths to my right and the Jones to my I am privileged (or not) to live in an insular and rather homogeneous area. COME ON...ITS THE GREATEST COMMANDMENT. And Jesus doesn't just even answer the "who are my neighbors" He teaches us about it in parables..the syrophoenician woman, the woman at the well, the man with the withered hand, and the list goes on. Jesus lives it folks...EVERYONE is our neighbor...Love everyone as you would yourself.

Anyways, I defaulted to Matthew 25 for my scriptural foundation......