Saturday, November 11, 2006

Click here for the readings

Tomorrow I make my way over South Pass to Rock Springs. We will have music by jazz artistRonnie Kole. He has been in Rock Springs doing workshops and working with students at Western Wyoming Community College. Every year he leads us in worship. This year we have 4 baptisms so it should be quite a celebration.
The Gospel is one where Jesus is warning the religious establishment about making the building and the trappings of religion more important than people. The widow with her two coins gives her all to support a system that perhaps should be looking out for her welfare rather than sucking up her last savings. He criticizes those who walk about in fine long robes and tells them that soon the whole structure will come tumbling down. It is a lesson for all of us who get too caught up in preserving the "way it always was" as our utmost value rather than letting go of those things that get in the way of our call to serve Christ in all persons. Dylan Breuer in her Lectionary blog explores this idea more fully.
In the reading from 1 Kings - the prophet Elijah goes to the outsider in answer to God's call. She is also a widow. Widows symbolize the most marginalized of the community - without a husband they have very few resources. In this story the widow is cooking a final meal for herself and her son. Elijah asks to share it and her willingness to share is repaid again and again.
How does this all relate to jazz and baptisms? Maybe there is something about letting go of status and position to give of oneself for others? Children want love, nurture, food and shelter -- just like we do. They are given into our care. Jazz at its best asks the musician to give one's gifts over to the music and the interplay between players. The giver of all gifts - children and music -- asks only that we use them to build up the kindom of God, for making heaven on earth. We cannot hold them too tightly. We give our best, studying and learning and practicing. Then we let it all go to become what God has in mind. Roots and wings - as the old saying goes. Roots for grounding and wings for flying.
There is a song sung by Linda Ronstadt:

Love is a rose but you better not pick it
Only grows when it's on the vine
Handful of thorns and you'll know you've missed it
Lose your love when you say the word mine

This is the truth - all life is a gift of the Holy One --- this building, the music, the children, ourselves - but the message we hear over and over is that it is not ours to use for ourselves alone -- it is to be offered up for the life of the world. The widows would not be down to her last coin or last meal if those in power had not allowed either of them to become impoverished. As we make our promises to these children to support them in their life in Christ - let us remember that we are making these promises to all the children. Maybe it would be to buy mosquito nets for a family in Africa to prevent malaria or give to buy a well for clean water in a village in South America so that disease is not spread from bad drinking water. These are all possibilities within our reach - see the Gifts for Life catalogfrom Episcopal Relief and Development for one way to do this. As we offer our support to the children we see here before us - we remember that we can reach out to our families, our community and around the world.

Monday, November 06, 2006

This weekend of events - the meeting of The Episcopal Majority on Friday, the Investiture on Saturday and the Installation on Sunday confirmed the best of the church for me. Rather than the one-note tune played by those who wish for a narrower church - I experienced the symphony that is our church. All the melodies and themes - weaving a rich song where all can join the harmony and diversity.
I loved the opening image of The Episcopal Majority meeting of wanting to maintain the big tent of Anglicanism rather than setting up individual tents for each small idea of what is right with guards checking the door to make sure that those entering are pure enough. I feel sad for those who would endlessly criticize. They seem to wallow in bringing down anyone who seems to be at ease and able to appreciate difference without feeling threatened or fearful. If they had written Canterbury Tales - only one type of person would be allowed on their pilgrimage. It is one thing to disagree and state ones case and work for change, it is something sad to harp continually and nastily about others on the Way.
The Episcopal Majority is a loose knit open organization for all who love The Episcopal Church and want to support it to become the best of Anglican welcome. It hopes to support the church to be a place where we can "argue it out" as the prophet Isaiah says, but yet share the the Body and Blood of Christ at the banquet prepared from all time and get out into the world to do the work we are called to do, strengthened in one another's company and filled with the Spirit.
On Saturday Katharine (click HERE) called us to be at home in this time and place and to help others to find home here too. Her challenge is that none of us is fully home until all of us are able to receive the abundance of the creation in daily life, health and well being.
On Sunday - (click HERE) we were sent out to be alight with the fire of the Spirit --- saint-sparks clearing the way for renewal and growth.
Some will continue to try to quench our spirits but as the (Click HERE) old camp song says:

Weave, weave, weave us together,
Weave us together in unity and love.
Weave, weave, weave us together,
Weave us together, together in love

We are many textures, we are many colors,
Each one different from the other.
But we are entwined in one another in one great tapestry

We are different instruments playing our own melodies,
Each one tuning to a different key,
But we are all playing in harmony in one great symphony.

A moment ago still we did not know
Our unity, only diversity.
Now the Spirit in me greets the Spirit in thee in one great family.

Weave, weave, weave us together,
Weave us together in unity and love.
Weave, weave, weave us together,
Weave us together, together in love

So join the symphony - all are welcome - amateurs and professionals - kazoo players and cellists - we are singing and playing for our lives and yours and the whole world's -- our conductor gave His all for this song - and its name is LOVE.