Despair, Hope, the Communion of Saints, and Song…

Staff_Delony, LenDespair, Hope, the Communion of Saints, and Song . . .

Last week when I wrote about Doubt and Faith, I shared about my own struggles with cancer. In addition to many doubts and questions, I went through times of deep despair (I was sick much of the time between age 13 & 17.) As a patient at St. Jude Children’s Hospital, I learned that St. Jude was considered by many as ‘The Saint for the Hopeless and the Despaired.’ Since that time I’ve spent a lot of time wondering about hope . . .

And I agree with Mister Mark, when he says:
“God does not live in a lamp. And God is not a Genie. And God is not going to grant me three wishes just because I want them. That’s not the way God works. There’s a big difference between “wishes” and “hope.” Hope has wings.”

When we feel rejection and despair, we can wish for certain things to change the way we want, but hope takes us to a much deeper place. When I can let go of my own desires and expectations, I can be open to hope in things unseen and unheard (through eyes of grace and ears of the heart.) I’m at my best when I am intentionally present to God’s Presence wherever I am (contemplative prayer means “with the temple” so . . . “the body is the temple” so . . . we can “pray always.”) And prayer is more about deep, hopeful vision, than wishful thinking.

Last Sunday morning during Chapel Communion at 10:30, Elizabeth Wills sang the song she wrote a few years ago called, “In the Broken.” It is a powerful song for us to hear during Lent . . . and anytime we celebrate communion. (When I break the bread before serving communion, I proclaim “We who are broken are made whole as we share in the Body of Christ and become the Body of Christ . . .”)
Here is a version of “In the Broken” on YouTube recorded in September 2012:

 
In the liturgy for communion, we often say “with your people on earth and all the company of heaven, we praise your name and join their unending hymn . . . ” In addition to the “company of heaven” such as St. Jude and St. Francis, I must point out that today is St. Patrick’s Day (my Irish mother would come haunt me if I did not acknowledge that fact! 😉 Though the link below is not specifically about St. Patrick, you’ll find a blessing for Deep Peace from J. Philip Newell. His name might sound familiar, because he preached and taught at our church several years ago during Lent.

 
And finally (almost), another favorite song of hope (and beauty) through brokenness, by another of my favorite singer-songwriters, Peter Mayer.
Japanese Bowl — Peter Mayer

 
(Elizabeth and Peter were amazing together on our stage in Wesley Hall in a Winter Concert just three months ago! Especially delightful is when the two of them sing together in the last 10 minutes. Here’s a link to that as a belated Christmas gift from Tom McDermott and others.):

 
And finally (really), feel free to join us for “Being Prayerfully Present as Instruments of God’s Peace.” You can drop by any Wednesday during Lent to be part of a “Circle of Trust” discussion and covenant group at 10:30 am or 6:30 pm in Room 230. No reading required. Just bring yourself (and a friend if you want.) Click here to learn more.

Grace and peace,

Len

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