Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Church... Whatever you need it to be

Tuesday greetings!  Hope everyone is doing well and keeping dry and cheerful on this gloomy Tuesday afternoon. 

The past week or so has been one of those filled with ups and downs.  I am sure you all know what I mean when I say that.

So it all started last Monday when I attended a funeral service.  It was a very beautiful and moving service as everyone gathered to remember and celebrate the life of a truly wonderful person.

This past weekend, I attended a wedding.  Another beautiful and moving service as everyone gathered to celebrate the new life of these two wonderful people.

It is ironic that the same language can be used to describe two different events.

At both services, people gathered to celebrate someone.  There were tears and laughter, smiles and hugs, stories and memories were shared, and God was there.

Another similarity between the two services was that they were both held in the same place. 

That is a wonderful example of what the church is. 

It is a place where you can go to mourn the loss of someone and remember their life. 

But also be able to go back and celebrate the sacrament of marriage.

One of my favorite shows is Scrubs.  If you are not familiar with the show it takes place in Sacred Heart Hospital.  Now it is not like those other doctor shows you might be thinking of (E.R. or Grey’s Anatomy), if you take that but add in some slap stick humor, dry humor, and a lot of day dreams you would be close.

In one of the episodes, one of the long time well loved characters passes away after being in an accident.  In the same episode, another one of the main character’s baby is born. 

For most of the episode, he tries to hide the fact that his child was born on that day.  He was afraid that the death of a friend would forever be associated with the birth of his daughter.

Of course since it is a TV show, things do not work out according to his plan and everybody learns about the birth of his child.

As he rounds the corner and is about to face everyone, he is only expecting to receive a few half-hearted congratulations because everyone would be mourning the inevitable passing of their dear friend.

Instead, there is just pure joy celebrating the new life of his daughter. 

This past week I had the chance to gather at Calvary Episcopal Church twice to celebrate.

Both were beautiful services.  We shared the peace.  We broke bread.  We came together in the sacrament of Communion.  And we celebrated.  As one in Christ.  That is what the church is…

It is whatever we need it to be at that time.  At both of these services we celebrated Communion. 

In the Book of Common Prayer for Eucharistic Prayer C, the language used is so beautiful and fitting that it would be an injustice to change it or alter.

Open our eyes to see your hand at work in the world about us.  Deliver us from the presumption of coming to this Table for solace only, and not for strength; for pardon only, and not for renewal.  Let the grace of this Holy Communion make us one body, one spirit in Christ, that we may worthily serve the world in his name.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

God at Work

Tuesday greetings!  I hope that as your day comes to an end and you look back at how your Tuesday has played out for you... that you have one thought going through your head.

Thank you, Lord, for all the gifts of this day!

Am I right!?

Let’s be honest, a lot of the times we may look back at our day and this thought never even comes close to crossing our mind. 

If you ask me, I think most of the time, this is normal.  We may just be busy with our everyday lives, have just experienced a tragedy, going through a rough patch in your life, or you may have even had just a regular day.  But when the sun goes down, how often do we look to God and say thank you, for all of your great works I saw today.

When the rays of the sun creep through the cracks of your blinds and that little beam of light lands directly on your face and wakes you up before you wanted to get up.

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of the sun.

When you get home from school late and look over your planner and immediately become stressed out as you prepare for the long night ahead.  Step one, blow on your thumbs (it actually helps calm you down!) 

Thank you, Lord, for the amazing opportunity to be provided with such a great education and for the ability to learn.

When a loved one passes and you are so upset and angry that they are no longer there with you.

Thank you, Lord, for the time we had together and for the memories that I will cherish forever.

When you stub your toe and it literally feels that every single bone in you baby toe has been crushed by a hammer and it is the worst pain you have ever felt.

Thank you, Lord, for the ability to walk and for the gift of healing.

When you get stuck at work late and can’t wait to get home to your family (or pets).

When you look back at your day, what really has taken place that has got you to where you are, at this exact moment.

Thank you, Lord, for the miracles that have occurred that has allowed me to be in this position.  Through your Grace, you have blessed me with many gifts and talents.  Thank you for the courage to share them with others.  Thank you for the people on my life that continually teach me and are there for me no matter how big or small the situation may be.  As I sit here and really think about the events of the day….It really becomes clear. 

God has been very very busy.

And tomorrow, when the rays of the sun or the barking of my dog wake me before my alarm is actually suppose to go off,  I will smile and say “Thank you, Lord”.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Let's Go Eat Some Worms!

Nobody likes me, everybody hates me, guess I’ll eat some worms!
Big, fat, juicy ones: Itty, bitty, little ones! Just as long as they squirm!
I don’t see how birds can eat them three times a day!
Without a pickle!

Now, some of you probably sang along to that and chuckled as you remembered singing that as a child.

The rest of you probably think I have completely lost my mind!  (The jury is still out on that one.)

This past week I had a friend who was just having a rough day.  Nothing really big or overly bad happened; it was just one of those days.

You know the days I am talking about, right?  Those days where you feel alone, that everything is wrong, and nobody is there for you.  Now, let’s go eat some worms.

Ok, well,  don’t actually go eat some worms.  That would be a little gross.  But we have all probably felt that way before, just down.  Maybe you want to call it a pity party.  I have thrown so many of these parties for myself.

I distinctly remember two conversations I have had regarding these types of situations. 

The first one, I was talking to one of my priest friends and they were asking a lot of questions about me and my life. 

My parents divorced when I was 15 months and the relationship that I have with my father is not what you would call “ideal”. 

When this subject came up my friend asked, “How do you deal with that?  That is not an easy thing to go through!”

Well, it took a long time but I finally had convinced myself that no matter what happens, there are worse things in the world.  Why should I let this really get to me when there are so many other things going on that make this seem so small.

Another time I was talking to another friend.  They were asking me about something that had recently happened in my life.  Nothing really that important but at the time it was just really bothering me.  Instead of talking about it or reacting to it, I just again thought, well there are worse things, kept it to myself, and just went about my business.

While whatever had my feeling down was so unimportant that I have no idea what it was, but I still remember the lesson I learned.

Even though this very ordinary event, this non memorable occurrence, has very little effect on my life today, it WAS affecting my life that day.

I have found that when we experience these events in our lives, we tend to create these fake scenarios.  We want to play out the situations to find a solution or rehearse a conversation but play the role of every involved.  This may sound very strange but it is also something I am sure most of us have done.

I remember on that day I was talking to my friend and I said “Oh, it is nothing.  It’s not real, it’s just something in my head.  I’ll be alright.”

It is real.

That was their response. 

Even though this was something so small and irrelevant, it was real to me.  It had an affect on my attitude and was something that was on my mind.  You could say I was having my own pity party that day. 

Just like my answer to my friend that was a priest,  eh, it’s not that big a deal.  Worse things have happened.

I just pushed it back and buried it deeply inside of me.  Nice and safe, right?

Even the smallest thing that is on your mind…

It is real.

It is ok to talk to someone about your own problems.  When you are feeling alone, remember that you are not. 

You are surrounded by people who care.  People who love you.  People who will gladly sit and listen to you complain about anything in the world.  No matter the size of the problem, they will sit there and listen.  Because they know it is real.

I leave you today with a poem by Roger Pinches.  It’s message it a simple one that is sometimes difficult for us to remember.  Especially when we are feeling a little bit down.

When the road seems too long
When darkness sets in
When everything turns out wrong 
And you can't find a friend 
Remember - you are loved

When smiles are hard to come by
And you're feeling down
When you spread your wings to fly
And can't get off the ground 
Remember - you are loved 

When time runs out before you're through 
And it's over before you begin 
When little things get to you 
And you just can't win
Remember - you are loved

When your loved ones are far away 
And you are on your own 
When you don't know what to say
When you're afraid of being alone
Remember - you are loved 

When your sadness comes to an end
And everything is going right 
May you think of your family and friends 
And keep their love in sight 
A thank-you for being loved

May you see the love around you 
In everything you do 
And when troubles seem to surround you
May all the love shine through 
You are blessed - you are loved


Sunday, September 8, 2013