This Tuesday when I let our dog Chancy out to go for a walk, she was overcome with enthusiasm as always and rushed to the curb (but this time, and in a somewhat over-the-top fashion, she greeted Jack Benson, a neighbor and fellow FUMCFW friend, who was walking up the sidewalk from the Trinity River).
A few minutes later, Chancy and I arrived at our favorite field just before sunset. The cardinals all around chirped to the glowing colors in the western sky as if to play their part in a symphony proclaiming “Emmanuel” and “this moment matters!” As our daughter, Katherine, loved to say in such moments when she was 5 years old, quoting Mary Poppins, “A thing of beauty is a joy forever . . .”
After a while, I decided to check out my favorite podcast, “On Being,” as Chancy checked out the field overlooking the zoo and St. Stephen Presbyterian Church. In the most recent podcast, “The Evolution of Medicine,” Krista Tippett interviewed three people, all discussing their sense of calling related to the power of a caring community in healing. As I listened to the sharing of stories about their vocations (clearly fitting Frederick Buechner’s definition where their greatest passions met the world’s greatest needs), I was struck at how these doctors (two M.D.s and one Ph.D.) spoke of how their greatest insights arose from their own personal experiences and times of vulnerability.
I grew as excited as Chancy seemed to be as I considered this evolving field of medicine in view, and some of the possibilities that await to be explored and born out.
As I listened further to the “On Being” interview, I realized they were discussing many of the concerns I have been living into since I became a cancer patient at St. Jude Children’s Hospital in 1970, and wrote about in the 1990s. (Almost 20 years ago, I finished writing my final Doctor of Ministry paper that was entitled “Hearing and Telling the Stories of Healing.”)
A little later that same Tuesday night as I prayed with a Lectio Divina group (that I have met with since my daughter Anna was 9 months old . . . 16 years ago?!), I began to realize that when I speak of “vocation” and “contemplation” and “presence to God’s Presence,” in a sense I am thinking about what the German Dominican Mystic Meister Eckhart seemed to mean when he said the following around 400 years ago:
“We are all meant to be mothers of God. What good is it to me if this eternal birth of the divine Son takes place unceasingly but does not take place within myself? And what good is it to me if Mary is full of grace if I am not also full of grace? What good is it to me for the Creator to give birth to his Son if I also do not give birth to him in my time and my culture? This, then, is the fullness of time. When the Son of God is begotten in us.”
It seems Eckhart was talking about being true to our “True Self” and faithfully following God’s call. Rather than focusing on production and efficient use of our chronological time, perhaps we as people of faith in a transforming God especially are called to be fruitful in God’s kairos time . . . and like Mary, following the lead of the Holy Spirit, make room for the birth of Emmanuel, “God with us” all . . . over and over again . . .
Watch! Listen! The Son of God is begotten in us . . .
Click here to listen to the “On Being” interview on “The Evolution of Medicine.” I think you might discover some pregnant possibilities calling to our community of faith: