Tuesday, March 21, 2006

"Hug me!"

Before the start of this Sunday’s Service one of our Parish’s youngsters fell down and bumped themselves against the pew and like most children began crying. Mom was just sitting down and tried to quiet the child when I thought I heard the youngster say to her, “Hug me!”

That got me to thinking, isn’t that what most of us need and even a reason why we’re in Church? Don’t we want, aren’t we beseeching even, our Father to “hug us” and make the hurt go away, if only a bit?

I’m not really the “huggy” type and have even been accused of being somewhat cold, but it’s really not true. I was brought up without much physical contact and doubtless that colors my reaction to contact with others. I suppose that's why a "special touch" from someone important always means so much to me. But I have given and received "hugs" (am trying to do a better job of it, BTW) and moreover, I have yearned to be touched and held when I’m hurting. So, I understand why that child wanted physical comfort.

Carrying it one step further, isn’t that what we seek in our relationship with God? Don't we long to be enfolded in His loving arms and offered the promise that He will make the hurt ease up and go away?

I've long considered our purpose in Faith and Worship. Is salvation the ultimate reason for faith or is it simply that we long to be "in relationship" with the Father? Or some of both? Myself, I'm moving towards relationship; for we are called to love God and each other. And it seems without the knowledge and support of the Father's unconditional love, life would be a much harder struggle than it already is.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Chalcedon compliant.

You scored as Chalcedon compliant. You are Chalcedon compliant. Congratulations, you're not a heretic. You believe that Jesus is truly God and truly man and like us in every respect, apart from sin. Officially approved in 451.

Chalcedon compliant




























Come Sunday, it'll be alright

In EFM the other night one of our group brought forth the question “Why are we (individually) Christian?" They then proposed the idea that we “were Christian because we had been born into Christian families. Were we living in Iraq or some other such place and born into a Muslim family we would likely be a practicing Islamic.” Personally, I wasn’t on board with that premise, but it did cause me to ponder the question.

By coincidence (or Divine Providence – you decide) the following Sunday’s Sermon (from Genesis 22:1-14 – called “The Akedah” or “The Binding” in reference to Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice Isaac) brought forth the point: “It’s Friday, but Sunday’s coming”, reminiscent of our “being Easter people in a Good Friday world.” Which, in turn, got me to thinking about grace & peace. In that same Sermon, our Curate recalled the words of the Blessing: “The peace of God, which passeth all understanding …”. That solidified in my mind why I believe what I do.

You see, the pronouncement just before the Recessional Hymn and Dismissal has long been a fundamental stepping stone in the path of my Faith journey. My life, particularly, is and has been fraught with chaos. I find it worrisome facing secular issues, daily growing more tired at having to deal with life’s ups and downs. It seems particularly hard for me to let go of “things” and offer them up to God. We are, after all, constructed to generally be self reliant, don’t you know. But upon receiving that “Peace”, I am again reminded that I’m not alone, that I do have the Lord to shoulder my burden for me, to allow me the chance to take pause and refresh myself, and to offer me the promise that “Come Sunday”, it’ll be alright." And that, I suppose, is why I’m a Christian.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Religion and spirituality

Was going through a book at the house "Amazing Grace" (by Bill Moyers with an introduction by Judy Collins - B.T.W. have liked her music since the '60's) and in the intro. Judy is talking about what the song means to her.

Somewhere along the line she mentions how spiritual she considers the song and says "Religion is for those who are afraid of going to Hell. ... and the spiritual is for those who have already been there." Certainly would apply to John Newton. Got to thinking about "spiritual music", particularly "Black Spirituals" and recognized the truth in her comment.

Got to thinking about things that have taken place in my life too. Don't know if that's why the piece (Amazing Grace) has so much meaning to me, but ...

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Got a smudge on my forehead

Today is Ash Wednesday and I’ve just gotten my “ashes” as I do every year; got “fed” too, but that’s another post. Will leave them on until they “wear off”, as is my custom. Occasionally, it produces unique consequences.

A bunch of years ago on Ash Wednesday a very good friend of mine (then a Baptist) saw me and told me that it looked like I’d smudged some newsprint on my forehead. I took the time to explain that it was from the Imposition of Ashes at church that morning and I went on to tell him a little about the beliefs of the Anglican Church. To make a long story short, after several years and some rough patches in his life he came to inquire as to what the Episcopal Church was really all about. Seems he couldn’t find the forgiveness he needed in the Baptist Church during that period. It gave me the opportunity to wax eloquent about where Anglicans are coming from and invite him to visit. He did, liked what he saw, joined the Episcopal Church and is now a Lay Reader and Sr. Warden of his Parish (in another Diocese). One of us will call the other each Ash Wednesday to make sure we’ve gotten our “smudge”. It feels good to know sometime, someone listened to what I had to say and joyfully accepted something I find utterly important in my life.

On another note, at the Service today our Priest mentioned that there was lemon water and Kleenex for those who desired to wipe off their ashes but also mentioned that they certainly could be worn throughout the day. He then related the story of a Parishioner of his (in another Parish) who had been to the Service and was out and about afterwards. Seems someone came up to her and told her she had a grey Cross on her forehead. Her answer was that she “always had a Cross on her forehead, you just could see it on Ash Wednesday.” Blew me away!