Delight rather than duty...

Today is my anniversary - and I am grateful - for the years we have shared
together. They have not always been easy, but they have ALL been part of a journey towards greater love and tenderness.  So tonight we'll hoist a glass of wine while listening to some local jazz and give thanks to all that is sacred.

Two other wonderful things are going to take place this week, too. On Saturday we will offer blessings for our grandson, Louie, with a time of prayer and ritual as we welcome him into the household of Christ's love. And on Sunday, I will invite the congregation to gather around Christ's open table to feast on some Middle Eastern food as we talk together about how God is embraced by remembering those we often forget. And instead of sitting in our usual places in the Sanctuary, everyone will move into the Chancel and literally sit around the Lord's table. I will teach our children a Hebrew blessing over the bread and invite the people to "taste and see the goodness of the Lord."

What a joyful and open spirit is flowing through the faith community at this time. It made me think of Fr. Richard Rohr's recent posting:

A friend of mine shared this story with me. An angel was walking down the street carrying a torch in one hand and a pail of water in the other. A woman asked the angel, “What are you going to do with the torch and with the pail?” The angel said, “With the torch, I am going to burn down the mansions of heaven, and with the pail, I’m going to put out the fires of hell. Then we shall see who really loves God.”

That’s what grace does; it empowers those who really love and trust God, and frankly leaves all others in the realm of missed opportunity. Our image for that missed opportunity has been hell later, but it is primarily and clearly emptiness now. In that deepest sense, there are indeed many people in hell right now, and there are also many people tasting heaven in this world. But Divine Love never relents, and never stops urging, expanding, and appealing. Why would it stop after our death?

Only the theme of grace is prepared to move religion beyond the bad and tired story line of reward and punishment. Up to now, we have largely mirrored ego-based culture instead of transforming it. We need grace to reform religion and to recapture the gospel. Only the theme of grace can move us from a religion of mere requirements (that is all about counting and measuring) to a religion of Divine Abundance which deeply transforms human consciousness (Ephesians 4:23-24). As long as we remain inside of a win-lose script, Christianity will continue to appeal to low-level and self-interested morality and never rise to the mystical banquet that Jesus offers us. It will be duty instead of delight, “jars of purification” (John 2:6) instead of 150 gallons of intoxicating wine at the end of the party (John 2:7-10)!

Alors...que la fĂȘte commence!


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