Archive for May 2011
It may take a Village to Raise a Child, but it takes a Church to Raise a Christian
Graduating from High School- what wonderful Christians they have become!
A true reflection of God’s love uniquely exhibited in each and every one.
I rejoice at their wise choice to accept Jesus Christ as their savior;
to use their life to honor God- who will lovingly guide them in every endeavor.
I know following Jesus isn’t perceived by everyone as “cool”
it is sometimes even condemned by the community at large and their friends at school.
But this decision they’ve made has long been encouraged and supported
by a Christian body called: “Church” – where Jesus’ teachings are shared and minds transported.
So now as we celebrate the graduation of these Christian youth,
I would like to take a moment to thank all those
who have supported them with God’s truth:
- For Pastor’s who led the way with Christ-centered words of inspiration; showing that following Jesus requires service, selflessness, and dedication.
- For Sunday School teachers who taught Christian values through Bible stories; who put-on plays, sang songs, made crafts and who shared Jesus’ love and all of God’s glories.
- For church music directors who stood in front of the congregation proudly directing their voices and instruments without a hint of consternation.
- For youth leaders and pastors who guided them through the challenging years when adolescents need great strength to choose to follow Christ versus following their peers.
- For other caring Christians who counseled church kids other than their own; who said something meaningful that, if a parent said, would receive an impatient groan.
- For Christian congregations who supported car washes and bake sales, who prayed and paid for trips and camps; sharing God’s love while creating memorable tales.
All of you who helped these youth learn the true power of God’s great story,
who encouraged, supported, and otherwise contributed to this great victory;
my thanks goes out to you each for the integral part that you have played
in shaping the hearts, souls, and minds of these wonderful young people-Christians you have made.
I have heard people say “it takes a village to raise a child” today
but I know in my heart of hearts:
“it takes a Church to raise a Christian” now and always.
~ Patti Cook
A Beehive in my Heart
What do you dream about when you sleep? Many people tell me they don’t dream, but sleep researchers assure us we do and just don’t remember. I have found that my dreams are more often filled with poetry than prose. The images don’t make much sense, at first, until I sit with them, letting them speak to me in metaphor and simile, coaxing truth out of a story that just seemed nonsensical.
This week’s poem is one I have long loved, because it has given me such enduring images. The poet sleeps and dreams of a spring breaking out in his heart, “water of a new life.” He dreams, again, and this time his heart is a beehive, in which “golden bees were making…sweet honey from my old failures.” He dreams, one more time, of a fiery sun inside his heart, with a light that “brought tears to my eyes.” His final dream reveals the presence of One who is the source of all the images, the creator of all. “God in my heart.”
Which image speaks to you of God? A spring breaking forth? one who brings sweetness from failures? the light and warmth of the sun? Where is God waiting to be revealed to you in these words? For God calls us from the strangest places sometimes. God, the source of our poetry and our dreams, is always ready to be seen and experienced anew. Take a look around you today. God is there, waiting to be seen.
“Open my eyes, that I may see, glimpses of truth Thou hast for me.
Open my eyes, illumine me, Spirit Divine.”
May it be so. Kim
LAST NIGHT, AS I WAS SLEEPING
Last night, as I was sleeping, I dreamt — marvelous error!– that a spring was breaking out in my heart I said: Along which secret aqueduct, Oh water, are you coming to me, water of a new life that I have never drunk?
Last night, as I was sleeping,I dreamt — marvelous error!– that I had a beehive here inside my heart. And the golden bees were making white combs and sweet honey from my old failures.
Last night, as I was sleeping,I dreamt — marvelous error!– that a fiery sun was giving light inside my heart. It was fiery because I felt warmth as from a hearth, and sun because it gave light and brought tears to my eyes.
Last night, as I slept,I dreamt — marvelous error!– that it was God I had here inside my heart.
(Antonio Machade, translated by Robert Bly)
Montgomery Chapel sits at the foot of San Francisco Theological Seminary. It is small and intimate feeling, with warm stone walls, plain pews, and several lovely, ethereal stained glass windows. I have spent many hours in that chapel: thinking, praying, singing, (even sleeping…), and I grew to love it dearly over the years I studied there.
However, I don’t think I ever really saw it fully until I was standing outside its walls.
It was after evening prayer service, and students were leaving, melting into the darkness as they went their way. I stood alone on the sidewalk and was suddenly overwhelmed by the beauty in front of me: there, incandescent, were the lovely windows, illuminated from within. Each window told a story: a boat on a rocky sea, a man gently cradling a lamb in his arms, a sheaf of wheat and a cluster of grapes. I had seen them from within the church, of course, as the sun poured in. But I had never seen them like this– standing outside in a darkened street, surrounded by cars and houses and the hum of a busy world.
That has become a powerful image for me, as I daily seek to understand what it means to be a person of faith, and a person of a faith community. Many people will never enter the door of a church, or will never hear the stories we know and the songs we sing. Still, the Light of God shines on and through them, as well. We are called to be windows of that Light. The Light of compassion and justice is as important to the world outside as it is to those sitting inside chapels, churches, and cathedrals. Our willingness to let it shine out of us, and through us, is a ministry in itself. Every time we act to make situations more loving, or fair, or kind, we are letting God’s love shine through.
We have talked quite a bit recently about being a church without walls. We have chosen to carry our faith into the world, though we no longer carry the responsibilities of a building. However, while we are a church without walls, we are definitely not a church without windows. Each of us, all of us, are windows to the holy. As we move about our busy lives in our busy world, let’s not forget that our real calling is to let the light of God’s love flow out into the streets and the alleyways and the sidewalks — witnessing with our lives to that Love that continues to light up the world.
“God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.” 1 John 3:13
In honor of Mother’s Day, I would like to share a prayer my own mother shared with me recently. It has been very meaningful to her for several years, and I now find it helpful for me, as well. Mothers always seem to have something new and valuable to teach us, don’t they? Of all the many places for wisdom I have turned in my life, none has shaped me quite as profoundly as my mother’s.
So, for all the women who have mothered us, (whether or not they are our biological parents), giving us the best of who they are, let us give special thanks this week. They have had much to do with teaching us about living good and courageous lives. Thanks be to God! ~ Kim
Father, Mother, God,
Thank you for your presence
during the hard and mean days.
For then we have you to lean upon.
Thank you for your presence
during the bright and sunny days,
for then we can share that which we have
with those who have less.
And thank you for your presence
during the Holy Days, for then we are able
to celebrate you and our families
and our friends.
For those who have no voice,
we ask you to speak.
For those who feel unworthy,
we ask you to pour your love out
in waterfalls of tenderness.
For those who live in pain,
we ask you to bathe them
in the river of your healing.
For those who are depressed,
we ask you to shower upon them
the light of hope.
Dear Creator, You, the borderless
sea of substance, we ask you to give to all the
world that which we need most—Peace.
~ Maya Angelou
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