Sunday, October 18, 2009

Down Where?

As you know if you've been reading this, I'm doing my "field ed" (internship) in a downtown church this year. Every day, whether I am there or at seminary or at home, I wonder what I am doing and what God is inviting me into. Every day, I think: a year from now I will most likely be doing something in ministry, and my vision of what that might be probably could serve as a definition for the word "murky."

This morning I am doing the readings in the main service, and tonight I am preaching in a smaller service. My sermon is sort of on the topic of gratitude, which you can imagine is a difficult one for me. I try to remember the words of one of my seminary friends, now out in the world and looking for her first call, when I questioned my capacity for taking Homiletics last spring. "You will be studying and proclaiming the Word; what could be more healing?"

I have this to say: Healing comes in odd forms.

As I am getting ready this morning, I've read two things that apply. The first, a wonderful and brilliant sermon from Songbird, which I suggest you read in its entirety, closes with the following:

" . . . Jesus is turning the whole idea [of greatness] upside down for us, reminding us how far we have to go to go with him. He made it plain how far you have to go: all the way to the bottom, out of love for all. . . . "

The second, quoted on The Website of Unknowing, is from Parker Palmer's The Promise of Paradox.

"The way of the cross is often misunderstood as masochistic, especially in an age so desperately in search of pleasure. But the suffering of which Jesus spoke is not the suffering that unwell people create for themselves. Instead, it is the suffering already present in the world, which we can either identify with or ignore. If pain were not real, if it were not the lot of so many, the way of the cross would be pathological. But in our world — with its millions of hungry, homeless, and hopeless people — it pathological to live as if pain did not exist. The way of the cross means allowing that pain to carve one’s life into a channel through which the healing stream of the spirit can flow to a world in need."


Stratoz said...

now if I knew how to heal some of those who are suffering in my classroom, but I am thinking that after hearing, saying, singing and praying the beatitudes for 48 hours...

I might just see a path.

Purple said...

Parker Palmer...Yes.

I remember reading W. Brueggeman's take on grief/lament/naming/healing in his work on Jeremiah. Powerful.

Jan said...

Good warming words. Thank you, GG.