Monday, June 27, 2005

Tin Lizzy Gift Shop - A poemling

Across the sky I see letters proclaiming
And I wish to myself that there would be angels around me
And that I could see them and have a conversation
And talk about God and Saints, sanctuary and pierced sides.

I wish that we laugh and sing and fly together
And that they would bless this flat vast farmland that is my hope and home.
Blessing it that I too may be blessed because from this land was I grown.

But no sooner am I lost in dreams of flatlands, blessings and curses then
The writing changes and I am suddenly pulled from my all things celestine:


Monday, June 20, 2005

I guess that makes me a pastor...

In the past week I have gone from two to seventeen keys on my keychain. I have moved into a huge parsonage, and preached my first Sunday in church... I guess that means I'm a pastor.

My first Sunday went just fine... I got up at 6:00 was in church by 7:00, in my robes by eight... to serve at 9:30. I guess you might say I was a little high strung and nervous.

So I guess now I'm a pastor. Oddly enough I feel completely uncomfortable with the idea... which tells me I am ready to be a pastor.

When I began seminary back in 2001 I was completely confident. I was sure I could be a pastor with little to no trouble. Now I recognize that I cannot do my job. I am what God wants me to be... pliable in his hands, helpless, in need of his strength and wisdom to complete even the smallest of tasks. It is in this state of utter abandon that I feel like everything is going to be okay. It is like the Wesleyan Covenant Prayer in many ways... the Lord has many services to be done and I am open to them all. Whatever should happen, so long as God is my father it is all going to be alright.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Strength in the Father

So you may ask yourself... why am I up so late. The answer is because I am making the bulletin for church this upcoming Sunday and without ever having worshipped at this particular congregation; it has been quite difficult. In fact, there have been alot of unknowns lately. That is what the world is right now, one great big unknown.

However, I have something to write about that may help. You see the other day everyone in my family came over for dinner... my brother and sister in law, my nephew Seth, my sister and my nephew Logan all crowding with me around my parents table with... well my parents. As inevitably happens, the nephews were playing a game in which Logan was chasing Seth throughout the house pretending to be a monster. So convincing was he that Seth ran into the kitchen where we were all seated and jumped into his father's lap. He was scared at first but as soon as he was in his father's arms, he turned and started to do his "strong man" poses where he shows off his muscles. I laughed when I realized that Seth, safely in the arms of his father was now strong enough to encounter the monster. He was posing to show how invincible he was when he was within his father's arms. With his Dad, monsters were no longer a problem.

So now I reflect on a simple basic truth of the Gospel... which basically means that we will spend the rest of our lives trying to unpack this simple, basic idea.

In our own strength we are filled with fear and weakness incapable of overcoming anything. In our Father's strong arms... we are invincible.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

The Chaplet of Divine Mercy

"There is nothing that man needs more than Divine Mercy -- that love which is benevolent, which is compassionate, which raises man above his weakness to the infinite heights of the holiness of God." -- His Holiness Pope John Paul II (June 7, 1997)

One of my favorite devotions is a prayer given to Saint Faustina called the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. It contains within it "a message that is clear and understandable for everyone. Anyone can come here, look at this image of the merciful Jesus, His Heart radiating peace, and hear the depths of his own soul what Saint Faustina heard: 'Fear nothing; I am always with you'. And if (we) respond with a sincere heart, 'Jesus I trust in you,' (we) will find comfort in all (our) anxieties and fears."

Saint Faustina had a vision of what it meant to share acts of mercy with the poor and dienfranchized. She sought to live the mercy of Christ in the world. I too, despite my own fears in this season of my life, wish to see the Divine Mercy of Christ wrought with remarkable zeal and exuberance in the world. I want the lame to walk, the blind to see, and the poor to be full of good things. So I pray tonite:

Eternal Father, you offer us the body and blood, soul and divinity, of your dearly beloved Son, in atonement for our sins. For the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on us, and on the whole world. Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One have mercy on us, and one the whole world. AMEN.

"I come here to commend the concerns of the Church and of humanity to the merciful Christ. On the threshold of the third millenium, I come to entrust him once more.... "Jesus, I trust in you."

Friday, June 10, 2005

Another Day Dead and Gone

Another day dead and gone-
Much like a promise to
Be and Stand with me against the torrent
Of rain, flooding out of an already empty
Vessel on the waves charting lost courses towards
Somewhere warm and safe
When apparently safety comes in numbers
Bigger than just one ship on
Waves of the kind of loneliness that comes from
Standing alone at the end of
Another day dead and gone.

Wrote this poem tonite, I kind of like it. We'll see...

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Sometimes it just has to hurt...

So one of my all time favorite movies is the move "Garden State".

The movie follows the story of Andrew a young man who had been medicated for most of his life as a result of a trauma that occurred when he was a child. As a result, his father put him on anti-depressants to the extent that for most of his life, he has been completely detached from his emotions.

The moment the movie came together for me is a moment after the medications have stopped and the feelings have started to surface, Andrew starts to cry for the first time and says: "This #&*%'en hurts." I know what you are thinking: "What horrible language!"

Look beyond it though... Doesn't it hurt sometimes... So much that normal words won't accurately convey the depth of the emotion? Sometimes, feeling the depth of who you are hurts and we live in a culture that does everything it can to avoid it.

We try to create a million distractions that keep us from recognizing how much it sucks to live in a fallen world and to experience that fallen nature in and around ourselves. We surround ourselves with televisions and movies, and games and noise noise noise, not to mention pornography, materialism, intellectual elitism all as means to numb ourselves, drug ourselves from feeling the pain of living in a fallen world.

It is however important that we do not numb ourselves to the realities of our falleness. It is only then that we can hope to realize the depth of our Father's love and mercy for us. Only by seeing the effects of fallen world not only as an abstract removed external reality, but also an internal reality as well do we realize how important the relationship with our Heavenly Father really is.

Feeling bad, though not pleasant, is a natural and important facet of sanctification. When we acknowledge the hurt that the fall has had on our lives we are then gifted with the power and grace to overcome it. Pain in this case is a very healing thing, much more than the shallow medications we use to not to feel.

The truth is, even in life with God, it sometimes just has to Hurt...

(If you don't believe me, ask the psalmist.)

Monday, June 06, 2005

Cathedral Days

I wish, that right now... I could be in a cathedral (I use the term loosely not meaning the Church of a Bishop but just a big church). A cathedral I mean, of three dimensions. A lot of people are intimidated by the massive architecture of cathedrals. I however, feel at home there. Imagine for a moment the stone and statues, stained glass and artistry. I love these kinds of big places where everything is symbolic. I find such places where the story is carved into the very stone very reassuring.

Right now however, I am on a pilgrimage between one world and another. Hanging out at my parents house before taking my first appointment. I feel naked and oddly alone in the midst of this. There are people that I talk to, even people in the same or similar situations... but they are not HERE.

So I wish I were in a Cathedral, where the wide open freedom of the space welcome me, to inhabit the story of God.