I was gone all weekend, so here's two or three days' worth of blogging, all in one day!
How do you thank someone for being what they're supposed to be? How do I thank my priest for being what he's supposed to be: a pastor, a shepherd of his flock? I can't, and shouldn't, work to try to pay him back, but what can I do?
I can work to become what I am supposed to be. I cannot pay anyone back out of a sense of debt. I must "pay it forward," out of gratitude.
Have you ever had an experience that was so potent as to be mythic, as ordinary as it might have seemed at the time?
Today I attended a sunrise service at my church. It was my job to run up to the sacristy and turn on all the lights as the priest proclaimed "He is risen!" I was all set to do it...and the door was locked. I had to run outside (still holding a lit candle from the procession), and around to the church office. Just as I opened the office door, my candle went out. I couldn't find the light switch, so I stumbled through the office in the darkness. I could see almost nothing, but in front of me, I could hear the church singing. (To finish up the story, I did get the lights turned on, and my priest thought it was hilarious.)
But it struck me that the moment in the darkness of the office is an icon of life. It is dark here, and we cannot see very much. But always ahead, the Church is singing. The dawn is coming. The light is coming.
And the Church sings to guide us home.
Today I shared a meal with a group of good Christian people, and noticed that the final word on anything was whether or not it was "Christian." The final word on The Passion was that it was "Catholic," and so not entirely what it should have been. Lunch was not complete without "The Story of the Jellybeans," a children's evangelistic presentation, associating different aspects of the Gospel message with different colors of jellybeans (with almost complete disregard for historical significance of the colors, I might add).
Two thoughts came of this:
1. Has Evangelicalism failed? Can we now do nothing but repeat the lessons of childhood to each other? Where is the meat? The theology? The doctrine? The history? Has Evangelicalism traded what it strong and lasting for what is easy?
2. Where is the dialogue with other traditions of Christianity? Will Evangelicals always shy away from Catholics? Will Catholics continue to fear persecution from Protestants? We do not all agree; but if this is so, why do we not talk? Why have we abandoned the practice of having councils?
Lord Jesus, forgive us. We have broken Your Body, and have been broken in the process. Heal us.
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