Jesus, CoVid, and How to Love the World

All happenings, great and small, are parables whereby God speaks. The art of life is to get the message. –Malcolm Muggeridge

This business is everybody’s business. – Albert Camus

God often comes to us disguised as our lives. – Paula d’Arcy

Three elderly friends, while playing bridge, were also discussing the travails of getting older.
One said, “Sometimes I catch myself with a jar of mayonnaise in my hand in front of the refrigerator and can’t remember whether I need to put it away or start making a sandwich.”

Another agreed, saying she often paused, befuddled, on the stairway landing, unsure of whether she was going up or down.

The third played a card as he responded, “Well, I’m glad I don’t have that problem; knock on wood,” as he rapped his knuckles on the table, then told them “Oh, that must be the door, I’ll get it!”

I am just back from vacation up North, the last 10 days of which I spent in CoVid isolation and recovery. And I’m thinking the story above could just as easily been about three people having recently recovered from the virus, experiencing that wonderful side effect, “brain fog.”

It’s certainly been fun for Linda and me as on our trip home, for example, more than once I got in the car after a stop and found myself heading back north on the interstate instead of south! Of course, that also could have been my internal temperature sensor rebelling against the rapidly warming temps as we entered Missouri, then Oklahoma, and finally Texas (where it is 35-40 degrees hotter than where we were!) Linda’s first comment exiting our car here at home, “Well, thank God it’s a dry heat!”

But whether your experience of “brain fog” is a by-product of CoVid or some medication or stress or exhaustion or the fear of change, the truth of the matter is that somewhere in the midst of our biology and our cognitive impressions of what our biology is doing is a mystery that is calling us to live fully in relationship with it, and everyone else, and all of life – be it CoVid saturated, politically divisive, religiously confusing, emotionally draining, or even delightfully strange.

This is our story, in pieces, and in the context of a larger narrative reality I like to think of as God.

I recently read something by the 6th century Christian monk, Dorotheus of Gaza, who wrote, “Imagine that the world is a circle, that God is the centre, and that the radii are the different ways human beings live. When those who wish to come closer to God walk towards the centre of the circle, they come closer to one another at the same time as to God. The closer they come to God, the closer they come to one another. And the closer they come to one another, the closer they come to God.”

I like that – the closer we come to one another, the closer we are coming to God. A more contemporary, scientific way of understanding this might be to say, with Christian physicist and mystic Ilia Delio, “To follow Jesus is to be a ‘wholemaker’, essentially to love the world into new being and life.”

This Sunday I’m beginning a new series looking at the Gospel of Luke and his post-Resurrection understanding of how Jesus’ life and ideas offered the world a new way of being in relationship to life. The Myth of Jesus, as Luke presents it, is one of compassion and justice, especially for those who are marginalized. Contrary to the understanding that Jesus’ life was a Hero’s Journey, as Joseph Campbell made so popular in the mid-20th century, it was, and is, an invitation to the Heroine’s Journey.

In other words, what if the real spiritual revolution of our day and time isn’t just about being clear-eyed and “woke” with regard to the social injustices of our historical past and present? What if this “wokeness” of our time is really just the beginning, the threshold invitation that is calling us to a much deeper journey into waking up in relationship to our own lives? And what if what is at stake is our very soul and the soul of our world?

Sunday, August 5, 11:11 am
Jesus and the Heroine’s Journey – How to Love the World
“in the desert, on a horse with no name”
Rev. Tom McDermott & Kagan Parker
with the music of America, trad gospel, Miley Cyrus, and Natashia Beddenfield!

See you soon!


Please Note:
A Celebration for the Life of Brian Jolin
Friday, August 5, 3 pm.
First United Methodist Church Sanctuary

A celebration of music and storytelling with guest speakers and artists, and the eleven:eleven band, giving thanks to God for the gift of Brian Jolin! Brian, wife Jennifer, and son Thomas, are long-time active members of the FUMCFW and the eleven:eleven community. I hope you can join us for this very special Memorial Service – in person or online.

Two ways to join in this Sunday
In-Person @ the Historic 512, FW
(Mask wearing is optional. Extra masks available on site)

(On our FB page, join in with other viewers live @11:11 am)


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