Prayers for our leaders

How passionately I disagree with someone, it seems to me, ought to reinforce my need to pray for them, and for my mission to love them as I love myself.

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Why have you not built me a house of cedar?

It is a very human tendency to want to set down roots, to find a home, a purpose with which we can occupy our lives.  However, God is not content with the contented life.  He seeks to push boundaries and buttons as he moves us toward his coming Kingdom.

In 1 Chronicles 17, the Lord reminds David that this world of today is temporary and we should not become rooted. God did not ask David, “why have you not built me a house of cedar?” It is not an expensive and stationary home he desires. It is lodging in the tent of our hearts, our temporary bodies.

Let us house Him in ourselves as we journey together to the coming Kingdom, and not leave Him in a building we visit. He deserves so much more than a house of cedar.

Enjoying Family

Life has been hectic and full on this postulant you journey. I know I was asked during discernment whether it really made sense to do all of this while I had kids at home and a full time job. However, no matter the obstacle, presenting it to God has made it easily surmounted. 

Still family time has been at a premium. I’m happy to have spent time together as we enjoy the season of Christmastide. Our Lord has given us the blessing of each other. So we spent it serving, soup to the homeless, meals on wheels to the elderly, baskets to those in need. And we return to our duties tomorrow blessed.

Seriously

There is a hazard in all forms of graduate level education. This hazard is serious.  I creates anxiety, stress, and passionate intensity.  It’s called taking ourselves too seriously.

And yet the beauty of the Hope of Jesus is that it is not ourselves which we should be focused on.  In fact, anxiety, stress, and passionate intensity are all forms of the sin of pride. We use them to attempt to control the situations of our lives and they are ridiculously ineffective and inefficient. Yet we persist.Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.John 14:27

In some cases we dwell on the past, guilt, shame, and anxiety over sins we have committed. Know this: God has even forgotten some of your sin. Job 11:6  

So accept the call of joy.  Know that God is more powerful than all of this serious business. Move forward into the new year with a light heart, laughter, and secure in the love of our creator.

No Stone unturned St. Stephen’s Day 

In Acts 6, we find Stephen. Called first and martyred first for the role of Deacon as a prophetic leader of the church in the world. 

When I was first discerning my own call to the Diaconate, I read this chapter often. I wondered whether I could really be called to a vocation where stoning was a literal possible outcome.  Now several years down this path, I have come to wonder if Deacons attract the stones like some kind of geomagnetic pull.  

I find that my polite inclinations hold less merit when in the presence of clear wrong. I find my voice saying words calling out outrageous acts. However, I find graciousness abounding as well.  

It is a strangely vocal place for a wallflower recluse like me.  I took a hiatus from blogging because I was concerned. However, Jesus is calling me to strengthen my resolve.  So stones, on this St. Stephen’s Day I promise to seek you out. I promise to invite you to my lord’s kingdom for a bath and a meal which will forever change you.  And Lord, I promise you that I will accept the bruises I receive along the way as evidence that I am on your path.  I will stop shrinking from this task.  I am yours wholly-owned. Thy will be done.

Amen

First sermon jitters

Well God, I’m awfully glad you are in control. Because the anticipation of giving a homily is terrifying me.  Fr. Swan keeps mentioning “picking a Sunday.”. And each time I feel green to the gills.

Some self examination is due.  I am a regular public speaker  even impromptu.   I am on stage 6-10 times a year in rivulets characters in community theatre shows.  I have worn a fur bikini in front of an audience.  So why oh why am I so daunted by this task.  This regular task of ministers everywhere?

In all its recognition that I am inadequate to the task, and lack of acceptance that He is completely adequate. As my dear confessor tells me, I have control issues.

Last Sunday, I was speaking at a church in Paris, IL for work.  The lectionary was colossians 2. And Luke’s teach us to pray.  Both of which are about giving up control and trusting his plan. 

I wonder if I’ll battle this issue for the rest of my life.  Is it odd to hope so? I hope I’m always a bit daunted and awed by the idea of giving a homily.  If I give one where I’m not, perhaps I’ll retire.

On Central Things

I have spent my first weekend intensive at Nashotah House. Yes, you read that right. A female bleeding heart low church liberal is a seminarian at Nashotah House. 

And I wasn’t tarred and feathered. Quite the contrary. I was welcomed.

I was in a class with every imaginable part of the communion. Focused on liturgy.  Our professor, Fr. Kevin Maroney, began with Lathrop’s Central things. I wrote a reflection paper on the book before the House, but my reflection after the House is what Fr. M. would call,”confused on a more informed level.”

On the one hand, Nashotah was a good example of walking together overall.  On the other hand prejudices were not absent.  In particular women serving in the chalice bearer role each day met one visitor who refused communion until a man could provide the service. It was handled with grace as it should be. But was in staunch opposition to the openness we seminary sisters would otherwise have felt.

The central parts of our worship of Bible, baptism, table, word were present, always present. It is after all this theology which is our common liturgical dna. But when table was disrupted, God was nonplussed. These family squabbles were not central.

The House has a reputation of conservatism and slow change, but I was not left with the feeling that such circumspection was a problem when a commitment to walk together is present. When focus on God’s presence is the main course at a table, it simplifies things.
The marriage vote in Canada this week cautions me that all inclusive means all.  I wonder that so many “inclusive” types wish to disown their brethren who are conservative, and so many conservatives want to run. Do they not understand these central things?