Sunday, August 31, 2008

Some random thoughts that came to me today ...

This morning I decided that I wanted to attend a worship service ... Not feeling particularly welcomed in ANY United Church around me, I drove to the Congregation where I was welcomed in with open arms during Holy Week this past year, and where I have been made to feel part, not only of the congregation but of the family ... even though it requires a commitment of time, fuel and a bit of a drive, I decided they were worth it ...

I wasn't disappointed ...

As I sat in the pew person after person came and said - "Good to see you back ..." and spoke warm words of welcome ... they were more hugs and handshakes amongst the small cluster of people that I can EVER remember experiencing outside of M's family Church in BC ...

The service itself left me with much to think about ...

The Epistle reading was from Romans:

Let love be sincere; hate what is evil, hold on to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; anticipate one another in showing honour.

Do not grow slack in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.
Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer.
Contribute to the needs of the holy ones, exercise hospitality.
Bless those who persecute (you), bless and do not curse them.
Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.
Have the same regard for one another; do not be haughty but associate with the lowly; do not be wise in your own estimation.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil; be concerned for what is noble in the sight of all.
If possible, on your part, live at peace with all.
Beloved, do not look for revenge but leave room for the wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord."
Rather, "if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head."
Do not be conquered by evil but conquer evil with good.

The first thought I had came fromt he passage about not looking for revenge ... "huh ..." I thought, "guess I need to just let God deal with the nasty brutish people who have tried to distrupt and destroy my life ..."

Then I thought about the command to bless those who would curse me and entrust them into God's keeping ... as hard as it is ... I'll try ... knowing that God will reward behaviour according to his scale of justice and the ability of folks to own thier baggage ...

During the service the Preacher asked if this congregation was welcoming enough, and if it was a place of love and acceptance, particularly of the stranger who arrives on their doorstep unannounced ... I smiled and realized the answer from my experience of them was a resounding - "ABSOLUTELY !!!" They LIVE thier faith - they don't just haul it out for appearances once a week like their United Church cousins up the road ... This group welcome in ALL who come, and make them feel like they belong ... they're not perfect, but they're trying ...

Then the challenge to say the words - "Hi," as we live out our welcome reminded me that the message fromTim Huff's book Bent Hope, that has really stuck with me was the one about SEEING the street people as PEOPLE first and foremost ... The preacher today said the simple words - "Hi, how are you ?" can have a HUGE difference in people's lives ... I heard the exact same sentiment two days ago when I was speaking with a youth worker who deals with kids who would otherwise be on the street ... the act of saying "Hi, how are you ?" to a complete strangeron the street may have the effect of making that kid feel like a human being because someone took 3 seconds to make eye contact, offer a smile and speak four simple words ... Could it be THAT simple ?? Having heard it now three times in a week - I dare to say - IT not only CAN be that simple - IT IS THAT SIMPLE !!!

And finally as I began my drive home I thought about one of the images offered by the preacher this morning ... she said our faith is a three sided triangle of God, Others, and our selves ... we regard each equally, but in faith God comes first, then service to others, and finally (though NOT least of all) our care of self ... as I about the preacher's call to live the Gospel by serving God, Others and our Selves and wondered if it is a coincidence that Gospel's first three letters are G ... O ... and S ... God, Others Self ...

Given that I refuse to believe in coincidences any more ... I decided the spelling of Gospel is simply a reminder of our call to LIVE OUR faith ... and I continued on with the thought - "MAY IT BE SO LORD, MAY IT BE SO !!!!"


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

so give it up senor..what church is this??
i am hoping not presbyhoolagan..or is it hooligan???