Sunday, November 4, 2012

At the table of the lord

Episcopalians did the unthinkable this morning: there was *applause* for the offertory anthem. Choir is seriously kickin' it. I need to figure out some of the vesting issues, including taking up some robe hems for our shorter members and acquiring more belts.

I'm teaching Nehemiah for this six week segment. It's been really interesting - I have a fabulous study I'm working from looking at leading projects biblically, esp in a church setting. We're having a really good discussion every week, and this morning we semi-diverged from the topic (Resolving Internal Conflicts) to over-arching goals. What are our goals as a community? What is the specific burden placed in the heart of this parish? Who are we supposed to be to each other?

As a church, we have a vision statement. We are to be Christ's presence in the community.  What does that mean? What does that look like?

What are we supposed to do when someone's behavior doesn't look like that?

Because we are Episcopalians. We are the people of the broad theology and the accepting nature and the constant politeness. How dare we judge? And it's so much easier to be passive, to not call someone out, to not say, "No. That's not right." I do it. It's 'picking my battles'. But that's not what I'm called to do, not with my brothers and sisters. I am called to be active, to not just let things slide. I am called to say, "Are you sure?" right along side "Can I help?" and "What is best?" Sometimes, rarely, I must say, "I don't think so," or the dreaded, "Stop. No. That is not right." It's not my job - I am not their clergy. But I am their friend. I am their sister in Christ. I am also tasked to help others be the presence of Christ in the world, and sometimes that task requires breaking the comfortable silence and not letting things just...go, when that damages the world's perception of the church. Or when it damages them.

These are people with whom I share a Table.  In the midst of all our lives, the presence of that shared meal is important, because it requires me to care. It enjoins me to open my heart and mind and ask the hard questions...and truly listen and hear the answers.

This morning's communion anthem has very quickly become a favorite. I hear in it the sound of a call, of a reminder that part of what it means to be a Christian, is to come to the table, to be fed, renewed, and made one, the body of Christ. It's up to us, to be the visible work and community of God in the World.

Friday, November 2, 2012

To Conquer Death

Isaiah 25:6-9, Psalm 24, Revelation 21:1-6a, John 11:32-44

When you have had a year of death, coming around to the readings for All Saints is like another punch in the face. Because chances are, the last time you heard these scriptures was at a funeral. And while they are supposed to be there to give comfort, that those we love are not separate from us forever, it's a reminder that they're gone now. And that's hard. The reading from John, while often cited as “see, Jesus raises people from the dead!”, when it is in this context, makes my inner 5 yr old want to ask, “but why didn't He do that for Grandma?”

This is supposed to be full of joy, and I just can't get there. I get the concepts of the great feast and the holy city and the coming of God to dwell with His people. And these are good things, things to be celebrated, to be greeted with loud hosannas and songs of praise. Knowing my grandmas, one has baked a pie and the other cooked some asparagus for that feast, because it's not right to just show up without bringing something! Their certainty is my certainty, that we will see each other again in a day to come. I hold to that, in the darkness, that there will come a day when death itself is no more, and all our tears wiped away.

Doesn't mean I don't miss my grandma.