I am really working through an online devotional under the hashtag #reLENTless. This is an example of why I find it so personally necessary.
I am holy too. Not piously perfect, not perfect at all. Human. Holy.
Source: #reLENTless #Holy
I’ve been engaging in the online Twitter community organized by The Slate Project, a progressive Christian real world and online group of people, called #SlateSpeak (Thursdays 9pm Eastern). Check it out. Rev. Jenn is one of the co-founders.
2016 is nearly at it’s prescribed end. 2017 “around the corner” and ready to unveil itself. In parts of this creation, that’s through balls dropping, bottles uncorking, and passionate kisses. In others, though, families will cower in the dark waiting for the next bombs to drop, migrating families are praying not to die in the deserts or mountains, and others still will sleep wrapped in (if anything) discarded cardboard or fabric, homeless and afraid of the next hour, let alone an entirely new year. Children are being thrown to the streets, abused by their church or family, and killed because they are gay, transgendered, queer, etc. Indigenous peoples around the country and around the world, are again being pushed aside in the interest of progress. Being killed, and moved off their land so “we” can have more of whatever it is we want.
These, to name but a few of the atrocities we inflict upon each other. We are no closer to equality than we were nearly 400 years ago.
Happy New Year?
I am continuing on a personal journey of awakening these last few years. The death of my Mother nearly 5 years ago set me on a path of private religious and life exploration that at first brought doubt and disbelief, and has since twisted and turned into a faith life built on equal parts doubt, commitment, and communion. This exploration, more importantly, has brought me into fellowship with people searching for and working toward justice. Racial justice through movements like #BlackLivesMatter and #NoDAPL. LGBTQ justice through the Human Rights Commission (HRC) and others. Food justice through Feeding America, No Kid Hungry, and my local Food Pantry. The list is limitless when we look to who needs love on this earth. My goal (“Resolution” is too sturdy a word for this fallible, frail human) in the future is to be more physically active in working for justice. Showing Up For Racial Justice (SURJ) is one way, continuing work with my church to feed our neighbors, and wherever else I can help, and whatever else I can do.
And I’ve found communities of people online through Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms that have lifted me and guided me to be a better human being. In particular, I’m grateful to @TheSlateProject through #SlateSpeak, a weekly online gathering of searchers who desire not only the justice they seek for their cause(s) but the ability to come down and just be for an hour. To recharge a bit. To feel and know a solid hour of love and welcome regardless of whatever label the world imposes, or is claimed. In this community, there is no identity other than beloved. We get to be, unjudged.
I’m learning that as a white cisgendered heterosexual male, that’s all I know and that it is the default inconsiderate lens through which I view (and judge) the world. That to help others is to first step back. To listen. To learn. To understand that I can’t understand. To see with their vision and feel with their hearts. My history has caused incalculable pain and suffering. Why would I think I should be in front of those deserving and working for justice? I need to read, to engage with, and to see life, not through but with, those who I want to have equality justice, and peace. I’m working at it, and I encourage each of you to also.
I’m blessed to have a wonderful wife of 30 years who I love as much or more as the day in 1984 that we met. We have two wonderful sons, the oldest married to a wonderful man this year, and the youngest just beginning his independent journey as a college freshman. We struggle at times, but we’re family. We remember that and love each other through the hard times, the sad times, the rebellious times, and the scary I don know who I am or who we are times. Our extended families are that; An extension of the lives we live in all their wonderful and delicious imperfectness.
This coming year will be a hard one. but a still a good one I believe. I hope. I pray.
So yes, Happy New Year!
Love your G-d, and their God(s). Love your neighbors. (all of them). and work to love yourself. You are good.
My friend Michael tells such wonderful stories. This is one of them. Enjoy.
THE RESURRECTION OF MARY – An Idle Tale To commemorate this festival day, I repost this not-so-long-ago encounter with a visiting New Testament scholar to entice you to follow Mary out of her tomb and beyond the streets to her place at the head of the fledgling community that became the church: He just said […]
This is a wonderful reflection on The Holy Eucharist. Episcopalians can turn to pg. 355 in The Book [of Common Prayer].
The Lord’s Supper is make-believe. You make believe that the one who breaks the bread and blesses the wine is not the plump parson who smells of Williams’ Aqua Velva but Jesus of Nazareth. You make believe that the tasteless wafer and cheap port are his flesh and blood. You make believe that by swallowing them you are swallowing his life into your life and that there is nothing in earth or heaven more important for you to do than this. It is a game you play because he said to play it. “Do this in remembrance of me.” Dothis. Play that it makes a difference. Play that it makes sense. If it seems a childish thing to do, do it in remembrance that you are a child. Remember Max Beerbohm’sHappy Hypocrite, in which a wicked man wore the mask of a saint to woo and win the saintly girl he loved. Years later, when a castoff girlfriend discovered the ruse, she challenged him to take off the mask in front of his beloved and show his face for the sorry thing it was. He did what he was told, only to discover that underneath the saint’s mask, his face had become the face of a saint. This same reenactment of the Last Supper is sometimes called the Eucharist, from a Greek word meaning “thanksgiving,” that is, at the Last Supper itself Christ gave thanks, and on their part Christians have nothing for which to be more thankful. It is also called the Mass, frommissa, the word of dismissal used at the end of the Latin service. It is the end. It is over. All those long prayers and aching knees. Now back into the fresh air. Back home. Sunday dinner. Now life can begin again.Exactly. It is also called Holy Communion because, when feeding at this implausible table, Christians believe that they are communing with the Holy One himself, his spirit enlivening their spirits, heating the blood, and gladdening the heart just the way wine, as spirits, can. They are also, of course, communing with each other. To eat any meal together is to meet at the level of our most basic need. It is hard to preserve your dignity with butter on your chin, or to keep your distance when asking for the tomato ketchup. To eat this particular meal together is to meet at the level of our most basic humanness, which involves our need not just for food but for each other. I need you to help fill my emptiness just as you need me to help fill yours. As for the emptiness that’s still left over, well, we’re in it together, or it in us. Maybe it’s most of what makes us human and makes us brothers and sisters. The next time you walk down the street, take a good look atevery face you pass and in your mind say, “Christ died for thee.” That girl. That slob. That phony. That crook. That saint. That damned fool.Christdied for thee. Take and eat this in remembrance that Christ died forthee. ~originally published in Wishful Thinking and later in Beyond Words
Who is sitting at the table with the father?
A wonderful reflection, with a twist, maybe? This is just good stuff.
Source: A Place at the Table (Lent 4C)
Oh, God how many of us have set ourselves aside as misfits – thinking we’re somehow broken or not worthy of all we are or have? How many of us long for the place where we’re closer to all that is good. Help us to see, God. We don’t need an island. We are an island that moves through the waters below and those above. With You. In us, around us, and for us. Not misfits God, but your children. Unbroken. Come now, we pray.