World Communion Sunday this past week was an awesome day… and will continue to call us into new and abundant life as the Body of Christ.
In each of our services and all around the world people were connecting and sharing in this “best kind of soul food.”
In the blog last week, I mentioned the story of the “good wolf” and the “evil wolf,”. As we share in the sacrament of Communion, we feed the “good wolf” of our better nature. It can help empower us to be more present in each situation as an instrument of God’s peace.
Being too busy to discern God’s Presence keeps us enslaved to our own ego and feeds the “evil wolf” within. To paraphrase Tilden Edwards, author of Sabbath Time, forgetting to be present to God and our True Selves because of our ego-driven reactions can be one of the worst forms of heresy in our time. As we are less rushed, however, we can become more fully present and aware of each of our unique callings and of those around us… and our important role in offering “sacred hospitality” as part of the Body of Christ.
Early last Sunday morning, as I walked onto Fifth Street, I was blessed with countless encounters with new friends and old friends, thanking them as they set up stations around the church to share about, celebrate and support some of the special activities and mission-communities of our church. What a blessing and wonderful way to begin the morning!
Later, I had a chance to step into the Children’s First Worship Service. WOW! After visiting with and giving moral support to Elizabeth Marshal as she beautifully mentored our new, young ushers, and delighted in our young church leaders, I marveled at an apparent synchronicity. How did Mr. Mark’s theme (not letting “fear of falling” stop us in our life’s calling) fit so well with the theme Tom McDermott and I have been discussing for this fall, when we had not been comparing notes at all? Just another God thing I guess. (Tom began the series “Falling Upwards” last Sunday and I will lead classes on Richard Rohr’s book of the same title in November.)
Then, at 10:35 am, my soul was fed by the simple musical praying on piano by Hans Grim and my opportunity to lead Chapel Communion. Next, after a brief (but not rushed) conversation with several friends in the Chapel, we went on to Wesley Hall for the 11:11 Service.
During that Service, in addition to the wonderful music, meditation by Tom McDermott, and deep mystery of sharing in communion beautifully led by Rev. Mary Ellen Johnson, we were also blessed by sharing in the baptism of a beautiful little girl who has amazingly deep, soulful eyes.
In the baptismal ritual, as we surrounded Asha with the love of an extended family, our “good wolf” selves were all fed and we were reminded that we are all born of “Water and the Spirit.” (For anyone interested, Rev. Casey Langley is leading a special class on baptism.)
To paraphrase and expand on what Mr. Mark had pointed out earlier in the morning, there is a part of us that fearfully clings to our narrow, small-self by hiding or overreacting. (Thomas Merton and Richard Rohr would call it the “False Self”.) It is that part of us, that needs to mature in the Spirit as it grows.
Counter to what the ego thinks, we grow in maturity not by doing more, but by letting go of our reactions and responding instead to God’s invitation, which in turn can help us grow in Spiritual maturity. (In baptism, part of us needs to die to trust Christ and this way of healing love… and throughout our lives, we continue to need “to die daily” 1 Cor 15:31)
Through her fragility and beauty, Asha is in many ways naturally closer to the innocent, wonder-filled knowing of God’s Presence than we often become as we grow older. As our ego strength develops, we must pay attention to what helps us let go and open up with childlike wonder to God’s immediate Presence…and let that lead us…
Grace and peace to you all,