Sunday, October 1, 2017

my soul is like a child...

At the close of worship this morning, one person said to me, "A little ray of light in the midst of so much darkness." That was my deepest hope for this day, so I breathed an inward prayer of quiet gratitude. The liturgy was simple - an abundance of river hymns and Eucharist - and my reflection was an invitation to live as "rainbow people." This is our time to tenderly embody and share the love of Jesus with the most vulnerable without concern for the cost. The words of Jean Vanier in his August letter to L'Arche came to mind: 

Many people are working so that our planet can remain a place of peace and not a place of destruction, a place where the life of different species can continue to flourish. They want to work for peace, non-violence and unity. Perhaps this quest for peace is only a trickle of water in front of the boiling waters of violence and fear but that trickle is truly there. It shows itself in the desire of many people to find a new way of living together. Maybe the time of frenzied individualism is beginning to diminish and make space for the desire for a life where people commit themselves together.

After Holy Communion, a few of us prayed with a brother who is hurting. Then we prepared for today's CROP Walk - an ecumenical event dedicated to raising funds and consciousness about world hunger - to close the day. Our small circle of interfaith peace-makers will like raise about $10K for Church World Service once all the individual contributions come in; our "bucket brigade" alone has gathered nearly $6,000 from their weekend collections standing out on Park Square. Like our worship, this offering is a drop in the bucket when compared to the magnitude of need. It is also a little ray of light in the midst of so much darkness. 

While speaking this morning, I knew some were yearning for more - more intellectual depth, more poetic prose, more sophistication - but I could only utter a little ray of light in the darkness. It was all that I had. And honestly, it is all that is there. Biblical theologian Walter Brueggemann has noted that we in the USA, "the richest nation on earth," are the most idolatrous of all contemporary people. 

We never feel that we have enough; we have to have more and more, and this insatiable desire destroys us. Whether we are liberal or conservative Christians, we must confess that the central problem of our lives is that we are torn apart by the conflict between our attraction to the good news of God's abundance and the power of our belief in scarcity - a belief that makes us greedy, mean, an unneighborly. We spend our lives trying to sort out that ambiguity.
After all was said and done - the offering for CROP counted, the communion table cleared, the songs sung and prayers shared - another person smiled at me and whispered, "Thanks be to God." My heart was filled to overflowing.

O Lord, my heart is not lifted up,
my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
too great and too marvelous for me.
For I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
my soul is like the weaned child that is with me.

(Psalm 131)

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