#reLENTless #Holy

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You shall be holy.

This is God’s promise.

This is God’s Problem<–confession I typed this first above, and figure its a Freudian slip of the keyboard.

These are the rules

We humans suck at rules.

Because we think Rules are about power.

But here God puts it straight, we are holy.

The rules are about holiness. They DON’T MAKE US HOLY. They are about what the holiness of who God is. When we follow the rules, we do so ONLY by the work of God

Revering Parents, Sabbaths-making, Gleanings for the Poor

These are not rules, these are ways of life, living into the holiness of God.

And I’m not certain we are called to Holy. Because I dinna think we can really do that. I think we are called to God, God who is Holy.

We are the people of God, not the people of power or hate. We are the people of the God, not the people of greed or consumption. We are the people of God, not the people of falsehood or slander. We are the people of God, not the people of hate or injustice. We are the people of God, not the people who hate.

This is God’s problem, this is Jesus’s work, this is the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. We are the people of God.

But here’s the real deal, if you mean holy by being perfect or pretty or untouchable

I am in no way Holy

But if you mean holy by getting down and doing the work that needs to be done to keep humans thriving through food, shelter & relationships. I’m willing to do the stumbling viscereal & reality that is being a Holy human of God

 

 

 

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#holy time

Yes,

Easter tends to be more crazy than Christmas

1st of all pastors tend to run double whatever number of services they run Christmastime during Holy Week: I’m at the bare minimum of 3 (4 if you count Palm Sunday)

Plus, usually, my kids are off that same week, so I get to gesticulate around that and the fact its a superbusy time of year.

Plus, people volunteer to do things less–Christmas is just more of a pitch in holiday. How many people really want to help out with the Good Friday Service (altho we do a service of the nails that is poignant and beautiful)

Its a crazy week for me I have two parishoners in the hospital/recovery, plus the other 4 homebound who I would like to see during this Holy Time, plus a session meeting to make certain things are in place, plus an all day Persbytery meeting (which they always schedule the week before Holy Week, which always leaves me scratching my head), plus whatever other office-y stuff I need to do.

Then there is real life. The things that happen that make you a pastor, the things that aren’t on the calendar.

My colleague Sarah Ross said “In minstry, I don’t really plan a schedule so much as I just plan to be interrupted.”

Nadia Bolz-Weber once had an intern who shadowed her. At the end he said ” it was “oh my gosh..you’re A PERSON for a living!””

So, interruptions and being a person are my goals for the next two weeks…God sanctifies them and makes them holy

How Can This Be?

Mary magnifies the Lord, magnifies the question of Jesus Christ. Takes a life change and magnifies it.

I don’t know about you, but when big things happen in my life–good or bad–I try to manage the event, plan it, cope. Immediately I try to make it smaller.

But if God is with us. If God is not just a lightening bolt miracle, but someone who walks with us in the mundaneness of daily life: understanding the miracle it is sometimes to get through the day, taking Christmas–like pageants–as messy, ordinary and blessed…..then we are able to speak holiness into the blessings, to speak holiness into the tragedies. Then we are confident enough to magnify the questions in our lives. Accepting these moments as holy ones.

Able to sit with those moments when someone you know is suffering, when there is nothing good to say. I think particularly this year of a woman I know who miscarried her baby. This is a moment of “How can this be?”. It sucks until it doesn’t anymore, but the most helpful thing you can do is to sit with the question–no platitudes, no answers, just sitting with the hardness of the question in love. Similar the question can happen in unexpected pregnancies “How Can This Be?” Personally, I don’t care how a new life is started, every time someone gets pregnant its a miracle–one for which we still can’t scientifically pinpoint. And these pregnancies are another moment of holy questioning. “How can this be?”

Just as Mary’s pregnancy was probably more like the unexpected ones, than another kind.And Mary doesn’t try to make it go away, she asks the question “How Can this Be?” and lives with the question growing inside her—bearing and delivering a a question to which she has no answers. In a time where they thought pregnancies could take anywhere from six months to a year, in a place where she couldn’t know whether she would be having the baby alone or not, and eventually–at a time when travel must be had in the final stages of pregnancy–on a Donkey No Less! This a a holy moment of question.   She lives into the holiness of “How Can This Be?”

During Christmas, a lot of questions arise, and family has to be dealt with, expectations have to be met, or passed over, a time we miss whoever is not there more keenly, a time when we are thankful that, it came together.

We had Christmas, again.

and we are able to wonder, speaking holy into the situation

How Can This Be?

And yet, it happens, every year Christmas comes again

Water into wine

Sören Kierkegaard, 19th century
“Christ turned water into wine, but the church has succeeded in doing something even more difficult: it has turned wine into water.”

Only the church can do that! Take Jesus’s Wine and turn it back into water–how do we do this, by constricting God

Item 1: Grace

Do you know what grace is? Its abundance. Grace is giving room for someone else in your life, so that they can be themselves. Its giving space to someone else. God’s grace is abundant–God moved Godself aside to make room to create us, so that we can be something other than God.

Christians job is practice that hospitality, to make room for EVERYONE in the church, and to make certain that we aren’t trapping God in our structures, limiting who God is and when God is relevant.

Consider if we said music can only be delivered thru a tape deck, music would be dead.

Item 2: Church is Boring

When we say God can only exist in a formal church, when we say our understaOpen Source Church: Making Room for the Wisdom of Allnding is the “correct”

(this is the opposite of open-sourcing church which is the way all information is going see Open Source)

If we make God ordinary, everyday; unexceptional and predictable.

We constrain God to what we understand her to be (see what I did there?)

We would rather tame Jesus than trust him (hence the above)

In fact, as I explained my job to a Japanese man who I am tutoring in ESL–he said that he found it amazing that we were applying a 2,000 (whereabouts) document to everyday life, and he asked how that worked, and I said that was basically my job, to talk about why its still relevant today and give the big message of God’s Grace and Love through the little stories and messages in the Bible…

“ah” he said “so your a translator” smart man that 🙂

Item 3: the Story (wedding at Cana) John 2:1-11

Name: Jesus

Location: Wedding

Mission: to Party people into the kingdom (through hospitality, wine and grace)

Jesus makes space for us, and gives us abundant love–making space for us, and we as the church should be doing the same

Item 4: the Translation (otherwise known as timing is everything for God, and we need to see God acting beyond the here and now to make the here and now better!–this is a deep thought for a parenthetical, oh well)

1. I’ve been praying about some kind of immigrant service due to a congregant’s problems getting a santioned-job-and-also-visa…plus I’ve been tutoring ESL on the side (again, this is what I do because the kids gotta eat). An offer came in last week for an immigration center to rent space for an office from us (rent, can you believe it) how perfect is that?

2. My church enjoys the “perfect” location, being high in demand for functions–we have been leveraging that into money…instead we are going to make the move to try to be theological & intentional in how we use the space (I’d like to have a ceremony dedicating the spaces of the church)

3. A congregant once suggested that we get snuggies for everyone in the church–our church is cold and hard to heat (ah the beauty of the 70s A-frame building). We could be known as the snuggie church–some people might feel that isn’t “proper” but lets face it I think being warm and comfortable is a more realistic presentation of God than shivering in nicer clothes….

The point is that God gives to us abundantly, and she does so by giving us new ways to understand, by giving us new people to enjoy relationships with and by full-on giving us permission to party people into the kingdom (who doesn’t love a wedding?)

Item 4: Happiness and Holiness

Plus! Jesus consecrates happiness

Sometimes, the church has forgotten that our Lord once attended a wedding feast and said yes to gladness and joy,” Robert Brearley writes. “God does not want our religion to be too holy to be happy in”(Feasting on the Word Year C, Vol. 1)….suppose we took every time we are happy as a holy time (note I did not say that we are only holy when we are happy). What if we celebrated, promoted happiness and in that way opened the way for God’s glory in the world?

Jesus is calling us to abundance, to happiness and to grace–and we need to be certain the church is concentrating on those instead of on the programs, the pews, the property, and the payments. These things do not make a church. People and Prayer do!!!

PS Here is today’s Coffee with Jesus, Apropos much?