Friday, June 14, 2019
A FOREWORD ABOUT THE WORDS THAT FOLLOW
This week there's a plentitude of words in this posting.
Hope they speak The Spirit to your spirit.
In effect, this week's posting a "Two-Fer."
So there are two sections to it.
If you're in a hurry, section one is for you.
If you've got interest and time for more,
then treat yourself to an extra
cup of coffee/glass of wine now,
or some other time this week,
and enjoy section two.
It's an Addendum that follows.
Just thought I'd give you a heads up
and that chance for a second
cup of coffee/glass of wine!!
Hey, glad you're here!!
Dear All Of Us,
Among pastors there is an expression:
"That's a story looking for a sermon."
And those stories almost always find one by the next Sunday!
You know, something happens that's irresistibly engaging,
tickle humorous, poignant, parabolic, noteworthy -
somehow or "tuther" it gets you big time
and you want to keep the "get" going.
A number of years ago at Panera's one morning
I was mistaken for Dick Chaney.
OK, I was a bit chubby, balding, slightly stooped,
waring my best pinstripe,
and topped off in rimless glasses.
But, come on!!
I know I don't qualify for a reincarnation
of John F Kennedy, but Dick Chaney?
How about at least Jimmy Carter, or either Bush?
See what I mean?
That story just had to find a sermon to go with it
and it sure did the very next Sunday!
In many ways the story is the sermon.
Somehow or other I saw a dimension of the divine in what happened,
a connect with our everyday spiritual living,
and that was the sermon the story was looking for.
By the way,
a Secret Service agent
was in the congregation.
He came up after church and
offer to drive me over to Panera's
in his big black SUV!!
How about we have a go
at a variant of all this?
Please let me share another little story.
It's a gem looking for a good setting.
Then let's see what kind of a message,
what kind of a Soul Story,
it might shine on our spiritual lives.
So, let's see what we can do with it
and what it can do with us?
It happened last Sunday.
In our church children are about seven when they begin
to receive Holy Communion.
Well, every Sunday whole families come up
and knell together at the rail all the time.
That's a good start on a Holy Communion.
Our pastor is quite good and caring, especially with the younger set.
He takes time with each little one too young for the sacrament.
He bends over says a little prayer for the child
and then makes the sign of the cross on the child's forehead.
Well, that was decidedly not enough Jesus
for a frisky little three year old boy last Sunday.
It was not good enough, either, for the boy's accommodating
seven year old sister kneeling next to him.
The boy wasn't at all satisfied with just a prayer and the sign of the cross.
And he let it be known.
He wanted full communion.
His sister didn't go for it either.
As soon as she received the bread she quickly put her hands
down low in front of her, broke the bread in half.
Then ever so subtlety and quickly she passed a piece off to her waiting brother,
who's hand was under the rail (and radar) at the ready.
With gleeful relish and smiling delight he took Holy Communion, literally.
Yes, a gem!
What does it say to our spirits?
In prayerful reflection this coming week let's soul savor this story.
What sermon is the story?
What does the Spirit share through it
with us way inside,
with us way down deep?
How does the heart of it interface with
what's going on within us,
what comes forth from us,
what's stirring around us?
Let's be as personal and practical as we can be.
How does this story shed light on the sermon of our living?
If a few prompts might help to get us started,
as well as some further reflections on a fuller sense of
Holy Communion, they are include in the Addendum
that follows in Section II.
Thanks for letting me share this Soul Story with you.
If you care to, I'd really appreciate hearing about one of yours.
See you next week.
Holding one and all in
God's Dear Love,
- Let's go slow and sense all the tones and touches (literally "touches")
of this holy communion between Jesus and children, and hopefully
our inner child:
And they were bring children to him so that he might touch them;
but the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant
and said to them, "Permit the children to come to me; do not hinder them;
for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you,
whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child
will not enter it at all. And he took them in his arms
and began blessing them, laying his hands on them.
New American Bible
Jesus handed himself off to the little children the way the sister
handed the Jesus Bread off to her brother.
She wouldn't let anything stop her brother from a Holy Communion
as Jesus wouldn't let the disciples keep him from
his Holy Communion with the children.
Who/what is keeping me from a Holy Communion - the one in church
and the numberless ones out on the street of everyday life?
How/when do I keep others from a Holy Communion
of whatever occurrence and elements?
Who is handing off some form of Holy Communion to me
"under the rail (and radar)"?
How/when am I doing so for others, or afraid to do so?
Children were the most under valued people
in Israel at the time of Jesus.
Who are the most undervalued people in our society, right where
I live and work, in my family, and among my friends?
Am I Jesus-like, insisting on preference, contact,
and communion with them?
How aware am I that "... it is to such as these
that the kingdom of heaven belongs."?
Do I keep company with them?
Am I one of them?
Children are wide open to good.
Then we grow up (?) and closed off to so much and many.
Makes communion of all sorts difficult and limited.
How about the brother and sister at the communion rail?
They were so wide open to communion and determined to be so.
Who's really grown up around here?
How's it going with my growing "open"?
- Another story:
Paul Warhola and I were buddies back in graduate theology days
at Catholic University. Paul was eastern rite, I western rite.
He was also a lot of fun, and he was Andy Warhol's nephew
(lots of stories there for another day!).
With a knowing smile he would often tell me
something like this:
You damn westerners are trapped in your heads
and so is your religion.
You measure everything by your brains.
While brains are just fine thank you,
that's not our center and it's not where we live.
We in the east know enough to use our brains
but live from our hearts.
You westerners get all tied up in logic and concept -
how many angels can you get on the tip of a pin?
Well, what the hell difference does it make and by the way,
it's pathetically besides the point.
And so much of your theology and religion are as not so well!
They just miss the point of the spiritual life.
We easterners can out think the best of you,
but home base is the heart.
Logic, rationality, fine as far as the go,
and quite frankly that isn't very far down the road of reality.
What gets you going and gets you were you're going is
divine, holy mystery - and we have it in spades.
Divine Mystery: a reality so vast the human mind alone can't grasp it.
Like the ocean, you can't "grasp" it, but you sure as heaven can jump in
and never finish, immersed in God's Love.
You say a child has to be about seven to take Holy Communion,
because that's the age of reason (the brain stuff again!!)
The child can then recognizes the presence of Jesus in the sacrament.
Come on now!
Child to elder we only know "about" Jesus,
just a little from/around/about the edges of the Divine Mystery.
But what we can do is mix it up with him in mystery.
So, we give Holy Communion to babies and children.
The good involved doesn't depend on their brains
or our brains in later years.
The good depends on what God is doing
not on what is mentally grasped by us.
Sort of like holding a baby and loving it
and not putting that kind of communion off
til that baby has a Ph.d and can recognize
a sliver of the love we have for them.
Over the years I more and more realize how spot on Paul was.
Roman and northern European theology
are a head trip and they trip us up.
So, our spiritual lives are like lovers more than academics.
We know a thing or three about the beloved. Just a bit.
The beauty and mystery is that there is no limit or end
to our mutual melding, to our
Three year olds are into it and we can be as well,
and it is oh so well.
"And a child shall lead them."
Let's go for it and let it get us!!
Have a great time this week getting
wrapped up in the limitless forms of
Greetings to all joining in here with us for the first time.
Thanks for the goodness of your presence.
A special welcome for our first ever participation
this week from Malaysia.
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at 6:48 AM