Archive | October, 2013

Passages

21 Oct

In the last few days it has become very apparent that the world around us is preparing for the winter coming.  The fish we saw moving from the Lake into a more secure and safe body of water so that they might lay eggs and produce next years hatchlings told the story on one page, while the trees and the fruit they produce whether it be apples, cones, or berries marketing their produce so that the consumers will take the gift of fruit and scatter it far and wide on another.  In each case the change is happening and we need to be prepared.  In that direction that church is also moving.  Change happens all around us and we are asked to meet the issues head on by some who desire us to take a stand on the environment or some political issue, while on the other hand there are those who simply want the church to bury its collective head in the sand and wait for the storm to pass.  Both avenues have been explored by the church over the last two thousand years and in some cases have proved successful and in others they have failed.  What is the church to do?

There are two passages that come to mind when I think of these issues within the church.  The first is in The Gospel according to Matthew where Jesus separates the sheep from the goats.  There is no question of theology or polity but hospitality.  Did you feed sheep, did you visit the sick and imprisoned?  The answer determines on which side you find yourself.  The second passage is from James, a letter often overlooked in the Church today.  There are two verse in the first chapter which help us, I think, to navigate the troubled waters of today.  The first is to be slow to speak and quick to listen (v.19) and the second is to look after the widows and orphans, which is a mandate that comes to us from out of the Hebrew Scriptures.  (v.27)  None of these verses ask us to be the body politic or to allow our faith and the Good News to become a matter debated in the marketplace or courts.  Jesus asked us to go and spread good news through the entire world.  We are the result of this journey which started with the few disciples who were in the upper room and present when Jesus Ascended.  They started the journey in Jerusalem and spread out to Judea, all of Israel and finally to the world.  Offering grace and mercy.  Grace is not a tool of our economy and it is not able to be measured in a valid study or in market research it is about faith.   Faith is is not science, or politics, it is raw and visceral and gut level and different for everyone who ever experiences it.  God meets us where we are not where we should be or where we feel we ought.  Where does God meet you?  In the quiet of your home, the changing leaves in the park near your house, with friends around the lunch table?  The times they are a changing but God remains. How will the Lord find you?  

The Quaker’s ask this question of each other as a greeting.  Wondering out loud with each other how the Spirit of God was moving in and among the body of Christ.  So I am asking you to think about the changes and the world around us and whether or not they are going to distract us from the calling that God has placed upon our lives; to go and spread good news, or will we become mired in the chaos of budget problems and closed governments, wars, famine and judicial wrangling?  The church is at a crossroads in time so I will ask again; How is the Spirit with you?