Tuesday, August 13, 2013

I've been blessed


We begin our service by singing:

Come into my heart, Come into my heart, come into my heart Lord Jesus
Come in today,come in to stay, come into my heart, Lord Jesus.

Shine out from my heart, shine  out from my heart, shine out from my heart Lord Jesus
Shine out today, shone out to stay, shine out from my heart, Lord Jesus

People around the circle looking slightly askance. I tell them about meeting the woman who had been married and baptized by Pastor Davidson, my predecessor. I explained that when he ran for moderator, the highest position in the church, that was his theme song. He explained that the evangelicals shouldn’t have a monopoly on Jesus. When my beloved mentor Philip would see him, he'd say, here comes Davidson with that damn song again. 

Pat wants to know if he was still alive. I say that he died back in 1994. I don’t say he died of a broken heart. 

The discussion starts with the beginning of the prophet Isaiah (1: 1, 10-20). i explain that Isiaah was the contemporary of  Amos and Hosea who we have been studying. And whereas they were working  class, Isaiah clearly comes from a  educated literate class and writes some of the most beautiful passages in the Bible. (And most of Handel’s Messiah.)  And that some scholars find as many as 4 Isaiahs covering pre-exile to exile and hoped for return.

As we discuss, we clearly see the criticism of hypocrisy. Of religiosity without action. With hands full of blood... I ask where bloody hands  are today.We talk about drones. And people who force people out of their homes. Or predatory lenders. 

Isaiah’s demands to seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow... are all pretty straight forward. I mention that it is about the vulnerable and ask who they are. The homeless, the mentally ill, those who are struggling with addictions. And then Marsha asks, what do you mean vulnerable? 

And after exhausting all the trite explanations, I ask her who they are for her. And she gives a beautiful description of the invisible vulnerable, those who look OK, who keep up appearances but are not. Or those who serve us. Our doormen. Our porters. Those who do our laundry.....and on. Those who we do not see.

And I say that Shushaku Endo one wrote that true sin is to trample over the life of another and not even be aware of it. 

After Psalm 50, we turn to Hebrews 11: 1-3, 8-16. The passage about faith.....the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction  of things not seen...and as always, bring up Jim Wallis’ definition of hope being having faith in spite of the evidenec and the courage to work to make the evidence change...

We laugh at the author’s description of Abraham as one who was as good as dead who left not knowing where he was going...and still produced offspring many as the stars of heaven and innumerable as the grains of sand by the seashore...

And we can’t help but reflect on our own journey over the last ten years. We said to be as good as dead. And how we are (still) seeking a homeland...

I look around  the circle and give thanks for each and every one of them. Their courage. Their perseverance. Their hope. And then Marsha suggests we need to have a discussion of what we have learned. And I say that’s a good idea. I’ve been thinking about that. And she says that it could be  big help to others. Needs to be done. 

Finally, the Gospel. (Luke 12:32-40). The thief in  the night passage. The where your treasure is, your heart will be also.... passage.

After awhile, Jamie objects to the sadness she feels in our discussion. How we need to expect miracles. if you expect the bad, that’s what you’ll get. 

Stephen says, Expect the best, prepare for the worst.

I reread the first sentence, Do not be afraid, little flock, it  is your father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Marsha is wearing her not so sure face. 

I say someone once said worry is a prayer for what you don’t want....

But we always need to be ready, to be prepared. The old wear clean underwear in case you’re in  an accident. We talk about mortality. How we wake up every day with certain expectations  and never expect 9-11. (To state it in the extreme...)

Back to the Good News, give US the kingdom....It will come. 

                                                                  Fire and Rain

Stephen and I sing James Taylor’s Fire and Rain, a reprise of Friday night. A few more times and we’ll have it....

In our prayers, I have  everyone give thanks for one thing. And for most it’s family,friends, or love....

We surround the table, sing Canto de Esperanza, (Song of Hope), and since it’s an Argentine song, give props to Pope Francis, who brings hope. 

Session meets to review proposals.And get clear on our side of what we want in a term sheet. I try to let myself believe that we are actually getting  close. Cara sweeps while we meet.

Much later, going home, I see Sean wheeling down the street in his electric wheelchair. A friend helping him learn to drive it. Hey Sean, I say, you got it. He smiles. We exchange high fives. I’ve been blessed, he says. 

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