Archive for the ‘community’ Category

Skipping Fellowship

September 5, 2016

I rarely stay for “fellowship” after worship. Most weeks, as I leave church, I speak to as few people as possible. Usually I don’t even shake the pastor’s hand. That’s not because I don’t have friends at church, or because I don’t like the people at church. It’s not that I don’t like the coffee and cookies. It’s that most Sunday’s I can’t. I can’t nibble cookies and chat.

John Calvin, among others, believed that in  worship we are brought into heaven. That is, the church is lifted up. Heaven and earth are joined together. Whatever it is that separates heaven and earth is gone. We are fully in God’s presence.

Well friends, for better or worse, I can’t move very quickly from the joined heaven and earth back to the “regular” world. My mind can’t shift from the final hymn, the charge and benediction and postlude to small talk about my afternoon plans. I need time to come back. Time to return.

Of course Christian life is a process of sactification or theosis. As we live into our faith the barriers between heaven and earth become more porous. “On earth as it is in heaven” becomes an increasing reality.  Everywhere is revealed as a “thin place”where heaven and earth meet.  But I’m not there yet. Perhaps someday. Perhaps then the conclusion of worship won’t be such a jarring experience for me.  Perhaps worship won’t end.

But now, most Sunday’s I need a little time. Thanks for understanding.

Some Days

November 8, 2015

Some days I can’t recite the Creed.

Some days I can’t pray.

Some days I can’t believe.

 

We tend to think it all depends on us as an individual. I need to recite. I need to pray. I need to believe.

I.            I.               I.

But actually nothing depends on me. Nothing depends on you. Everything depends upon God.

We love because God first loved us. We lean on God. We rest in God. We sink into the security that is God.

It doesn’t depend upon you. It doesn’t depend upon me. We are not saved by our ability to recite the Creed. We are not saved by our ability to pray. We are not saved by the correctness of our beliefs or our actions. It simply doesn’t depend upon us.

It is important to understand and believe the Creeds. It is important to pray. It is important to believe. But they are not the most important things. They are not the first things.

The first and most important is to be willing to step into God’s love. It doesn’t even need to be a big step. We don’t have to fling ourselves off some cliff. Sometimes the leap of faith is more like a hop. A tiny hop. Maybe a stumble.  A shuffle. That little, tiny movement is enough. And then God, with God’s great odd sense of humor slips in. God puts out a hand and catches us as we stumble. God takes a tiny hop with us.

Then God , with God’s great odd sense of humor, brings along some people to help us, to pray for us and with us.

Some days I need you to recite the Creed for me.

Some days I need you to pray for me.

Some days I need you to believe on my behalf.

Some days you will need me to recite and pray and believe for you. That’s how it works.

We can’t do this alone. We need each other.

We don’t do this alone. We have each other. And we have God, who loves us before we are even able to believe and pray and recite.

 

 


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