Saturday, May 19, 2012

They shall bear the burden with you

From today's reading:  So the LORD said to Moses, "Gather for me seventy of the elders of Israel. . . bring them to the tent of meeting, and have them take their place there with you. I will come down and. . . take some of the spirit that is on you and put it on them; and they shall bear the burden of the people along with you so that you will not bear it all by yourself.  Numbers 11:16-17

I've probably written on this before because I love this scripture.  From the Old Testament, it is a constant reminder to me that God has not placed us in isolation here on earth.  He gives us companions and helpers on this journey called life.  It's also very important for us as leaders to remember - we don't have to do it all ourselves.   There are competent people all around us who can bear part of that burden for us.

A perfect example is the wedding at La Porte last night.  I am so blessed there to have people who are willing and able to do their part in preparation.  I conducted all the premarital sessions and the wedding itself, but others helped out in so many ways.  Sandi met with the bride to gather all the information that she needed for the bulletin.   JoLynn, the church wedding coordinator, met with the couple concerning what they could do decoration-wise and to determine what the altar guild needed to prepare.  She also made sure the church was open when they got there and stayed to lock up when they were through taking pictures.  Steve, one of our vergers, conducted the wedding rehearsal the night before so that I didn't have to drive that extra distance two nights in a row and he make sure bride and groom were where they needed to be prior to the beginning of the wedding.  it is such a blessing to be surrounded by competent, willing helpers.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

What kind of soil?

From today's reading:  Hear then the parable of the sower.  Matthew 13:18  We all know about the seed sown on the path and the rocky ground, among the thorns and on the good soil.  Some people talk about us being each kind of soil at different times in our lives and there is some truth in that for all of us.  

Some talk about our being the sower and that we are to go out and sow the word everywhere in the hopes that some will take root and grow.  I usually fall into the latter category. But I wonder if there is another category - one in which we understand that God is the sower - and that he has sown the word into all sorts and conditions of people.  

I wonder if we need to be more aware of (and accepting of) people who have received the Word even when they are not like us.  Sitting in our churches today, we often have people who are all sorts of soil.  Just because we are sitting in the church doesn't mean that we are all in the same place spiritually.  

I've heard people complain about the so-called hypocrites in church.  My answer is, don't expect people in church to be perfect.  And if they are truly Christian, they won't expect you to be perfect either.  We can all grow together, striving to be the best we can, but we need to remember that Jesus most often chose to hang out with tax collectors and sinners rather than the (self-)righteous.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Dame Julian of Norwich

From today’s reading:  But you, beloved, are not in darkness, for that day to surprise you like a thief; for you are all children of light and children of the day.  1 Thessalonians 5:4-5

Dame Julian of Norwich is remembered on May 8.  Having recovered from a grave illness, she had a series of visions from God which she reported in her book called “Revelations of Divine Love.”   Her book is a tender meditation on God's eternal and all-embracing love, as expressed to us in the Passion of Christ.

One of the more familiar revelations concerned a hazelnut: “She describes seeing God holding a tiny thing in his hand, like a small brown nut, which seemed so fragile and insignificant that she wondered why it did not crumble before her eyes. She understood that the thing was the entire created universe, which is as nothing compared to its Creator, and she was told, ‘God made it, God loves it, God keeps it.’”

A matter that greatly troubled her was the fate of those who through no fault of their own had never heard the Gospel. She never received a direct answer to her questions about them, except to be told that whatever God does is done in Love, and therefore "that all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well."

With thanks to James Kiefer for his research