Tuesday, February 14, 2012

On this Sunday how we are

Sitting and talking with Teddy before the service. Getting ready. I know that Andre is with Erasmia in Jersey and that Amy’s working, too. So I ask Teddy and Rafael to pull the chairs together in a circle. 
To start, we begin with confetimini domino, come and fill our hearts with your peace. When we sing nada te turbe, Arcadia asks if anybody knows what that means and when it seems like lots don’t, we work it out. Teddy says, I know nada is a nothing...and I say right, nothing can trouble, and John joins in.. there’s nothing to fear...the one who has God has enough.. Thats the word, I say, basta, enough...and Teddy says he’ll remember that one. 
When we get to the prayers, we talk about the fact that the third anniversary of Adham’s death is coming up next week.  And I talk about the loss of my friend Ed and Steve talks about the loss of his father. Many of us have loss to remember. 
John read the story from 2 Kings 5: 1-14 about Naaman, the Syrian commander suffering from leprosy who comes to Elisha to be healed. I stop to make sure everyone has the plot line. And John says, it was too easy, and I say he’s got it , that’s right. 
Then we do parts of Psalm 30 people’s mike style.  Teddy reads 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 and then Arcadia reads the Gospel (Mark 1: 40-45) in Spanish and me in English.
And I start with what’s on my mind. That the story  about Naaman is ultimately a story about big vs. small. Naaman has to compare his native rivers,the waters of Abana and Pharpar, that the rivers of Damascus were  better than all the rivers of Israel,  the might Syrian Rivers vs.  the little river Jordan. If anyone has ever seen the Jordan River, sometimes it’s little more than a stream. Yet today, nobody knows Abana and Pharpar, everyone knows the Jordan River. 
It’s important vs.  not important. Sometimes, for example. it’s the little churches, not the big ones that can make the difference. As this community is evolving, sometimes it’s the least likely people who have stepped up to make a differnce.  And it’s simple v complicated. Like John said, it was too easy. He would have more likely accepted some next to impossible hero’s quest, maybe even with a dragon, to what Elisha actually asked of him.  His men say, “had he asked you to do a heavy task...” Sometimes we make it more diffiuclt than it needs ot be. 
The I talk about Paul. All that athletic imagery. I have to go back to the Super Bowl last week. The big prize.  And then the Imperishable prize vs. worldly prize. That training is important. And I love the images, DO NOT RUN AIMLESSLY or, if a boxer,  BEAT AT THE AIR. We all know people caught up in running around in meaingless activity that dosen’t lead anywhere.  We have to have  a purpose, and know, make clear what it is.
Finally, in the gospel, it’s a matter of choice for Jesus. He has to choose. No right incantation or right recitation of words will makeJesus di anything. It's  not our will or desire thst counts here. In going out to touch the one whi has leprosy, Jesus goes where others won’t...he touches him.....and that’s what the churhc is called to do.
I end my words by asking a question. I know people are here to support me, to support the church. But what woud it take to make someone come because they really want to and to say to a friend, you gotta come see this, you have to be there. 
There are a lot of former Catholics. Peoiple who had bad childhood experiences there. Like Steve, growing up in Frnaco’s Spain. Surpirsingly, people like the smallness, the intimacy, the opportunity to get to know people personally. And there is the radical feeling of acceptance.That here is another chance to become who youwere supposed to be. Teddy talks about how he felt like he had been in a box and  now has been set free.By the radical acceptance.Yhe trust.  I feel in Jean a great depth of faith. It’s moving to hear people talk. And again, infuriating that  people want to see social engagemnt and evangelism as separate endeavors. They are  inseparable. Our social witness is also evangelism, another form of preaching the good news. 
We close by singing I’ve got peace like a river again.
I spend half an hour with P______. Trying to persuade her to get a psych eval so that she can stay in her apartment.  She insists that God will take care  of her. I say, maybe that's God’s way. And that God is using Laura to help, too. (Laura has gone above and beyond to make resoures  available. ) She’s afraid that everyone is out there just waiting to throw On thi her into the loony bin. And then she says her attorney sent her to a doctor nd she’s already got a letter. Says she’s being  treated for  stress. Now I don't know what to do. Will wait to talk to her attorney tomorrow.  
The Session meets. First item of business, the Noche Flamneco agreement. Looks  like with a couple of minot adjustments, we’re ready to go. I can’t wait t make it official. 
Steve brings in Karen to talk with me. From Wyoming. Here for the Town Square yesterday. A story teller, puppeteer, theatre. I tell her she’s right in there with our conversaiton with Laura Simms. And Karen knows Laura as a story teller. More possibiitites out there. It all fits together. Jane’s service is beignning.  

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