The kids at Holy Cross let me bring out my Daniel Tiger doll every so often. And we all learn from the very young tiger who is learning things often for the very first time.
The adults at Holy Cross let me sometimes enter into discussions about the life of faith through the eyes of a very young tiger. Because I think we are all dealing with fear today. We cover it up – some of us ‘eat our fears and anxieties’ – mine are most appreciated when they are chocolate dipped. Some of us become angry people – shaking our fists in rage at the ‘fools’ who run things, or the ‘idiots’ who want change to come. Some of us, driven by fear, disappear into ecstasy – (yeah, this is hard to explain) – religious ecstasy is ancient, but modern ecstasy finds worship, prayer and the like to be a vehicle to back out of the conflict we see around us.
But we are transfigured. On the mountaintop in Matthew, Jesus tells the terrified disciples, ‘Get up. Do not be afraid.’ He’s been showing them in his ministry, by healing, and casting out demons, and feeding the people all along. His power is shown to them in a fearful display on Transfiguration, as Elijah and Moses join him in glorious light! But this power display is not to frighten, but to inspire. This life they are called to join is glorious – don’t minimize that – don’t let the fear take hold.
So, when we all get frightened, like Daniel Tiger does, we could learn from Daniels’ mother who tells him to think of something happy. And then what? move forward, step by step, do not be afraid. What might we accomplish if we could move beyond fear to action in the name of the King?
My friends, take a breath, go to that place inside yourselves where we worship our Lord – and change the world.
As the world’s news swirls around us these days – coronavirus, elections, disappointing behavior on the part of elected members of the government. I continue to see hope, to be hopeful, that compassion is alive and well.
Compassion – Merriam Webster defines it this way – : sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it. Being aware of how our brothers and sisters struggle in our world, and the desire (and also the motivation) to enter into that struggle, on the side of those brothers and sisters. In my heart, this is the business of the church as well as individuals today. Continue reading “You will be found”
I had a conversation with a member of my church, Holy Cross, about 6 years ago. We were talking about the vote that was coming up from our congregation to agree to let me perform weddings in the church sanctuary – weddings for couples I had met for counseling and believed they wished to enter into a loving marriage – where they put the other partner first, and self interest to the side. And, if the couple consisted of two men, or two women, or one of each, it didn’t matter to me. The church was asked to consent. And then, I had this conversation with a member about it. He said, “You know in my life, Pastor, I’ve seen a lot of change. On the Navy ship I served, black men could only serve as cabin boys, or in the galley. I didn’t realize how wrong that was then. Seems to me that people wanting to get married where they are gay or homosexual or whatever, might be the same thing. You go ahead and do it.” Continue reading “Do Justice, love mercy, walk humbly”
I am hopeful these days. As a churchy person, the season of Epiphany (between the commemoration of the visit of the Magi to Bethlehem and the beginning of Lent) is a hopeful time – Jesus has been born, and his ministry is flourishing. We won’t talk much about his journey to the cross until Lent begins our march to Holy Week.
So, the season is about hope. Hope in the ministry of Jesus who comes to change lives, and repurpose the people of God into Joy.
But, I am hopeful also because of all the conversations. Continue reading “Space for conversation”