Good Morning, this is the Meditation for Sunday July 23.
My name is Carl and I am being coached by Grace. It is the Grace of God that stands behind us, is to the right of us, to the left of us and opens doors before us. (if you are comfortable repeat that statement using your own name.)
Opening thought: This has been a difficult week for me as I gave myself permission to experiment with words, specifically “God talk.” I chose to listen to the implications of words rather than just the words themselves. Humanity is more than a religious society, we are also a spiritual society. In some way we are also a people who attempt to control what we think that spirit should sound like, and what form that spirit should take. The human sense of ego is clearly a part of this discussion.
Please take time to spend a moment to focus on your own sense of spirit before you go any further. If you are a praying person, pray to be sensitive to the tidal wave of emotions you will hear/feel. Pray you will have a mind that can objectify words in order to hear what is actually being said. The format for this meditation process will be consistent with the past. I as writer identify a thought or theme that has become a burning issue at this moment. I then read the assigned text from the Lectionary. I write down what principles about life, or what story arises that speaks specifically to me from the text. I ask you very clearly to read ALL the scripture in the assigned writings. There is no denial I come with preconceived positions or conclusions of faith. It is the hope you would see certain words as a statement of belief rather than “the ultimate word, or final word” of truth on a specific subject.
Please hear the words of this congregational hymn.
How does this speak to you or do you find the lack of professionalism offensive?
Scripture: http://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu/texts.php?id=151cGenesis 28:10-19a and Psalm 139:1-12, 23-24 • Wisdom of Solomon 12:13, 16-19 or Isaiah 44:6-8 and Psalm 86:11-17 • Romans 8:12-25 • Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
Prayer: please read the Scripture and write words meaningful to you that lead you in prayer.
Lord, Jacob had a dream, the conclusion of the dream said you are in this place. Lord are you in my place too?
Lord, the Psalmist tells us his thoughts are about you, then concludes: Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. See if there is any wickedness in me. Lord do I want to pray that way after spending a week living in the depths of my soul.
Lord, Solomon was known for his wisdom, help me in what I think is my wisdom as well. Solomon concluded people make mistakes, I wonder if my people here think about the mistakes we make or are we just to busy defending our right to be wrong.
Lord, Isaiah says there is one God, are you that God?
Lord, the Psalmist talks about you again. I am humbled by his words. He is content in a way I am not. I seek to submit myself to the spirit of your words.
Lord, the Apostle Paul tells us there is something going on. We are a part of that “going on.” Lord give me, give us patience to watch it unfold. Allow us to experience how great it may be.
Lord, Jesus puts patience into another image. It is the image that that both good and bad seed have been sown. At the end of time the fruit of the good seed shall be harvested and the fruit of the bad seed shall be burned. Lord is that what all this pain and suffering is all about? Help me to know because everyday I get asked “why me Lord, why all these words that lead to discontent and hurt.
Seek Ye the Lord
Meditation: THE HIGH ROAD
I have approached this morning with a certain amount of fear.
You are my friends.
You are my fellow sojourners, my goal is to walk along side of you, sometimes in front of you and even sometimes behind you. But always in a way you knew you were not abandoned. Words. Words can and do hurt.
We are a people with a long term illness. Sometimes the illness dies before we do. Sometimes we quit living before we die.
The background for the meditation is a conflict about how we include our ultimate sense of hope, or express words about our hope. Can we say those things/words publically? Even more so can we wish that hope, that “blessing” on someone who doesn’t either like your words or are offended by your words?
The use of the Bible is a practice centuries old. Each generation tries to be consistent with the truth of the previous generation. Then there are groups and generations who manipulate historical words to there own purposes. We have this happen around issues of gender, abortion, use of money, use of mineral wealth, authority structures, politics etc. It just so happens that this site deals with health. So the use of the Bible is again “done.” What do I mean by done?
Lets go to the Bible and see how it is “done!” After reading the daily readings the writer of Genesis uses it as story telling and history. The Psalmist uses it as words of faith. This is different than “truth.” This is an extremely important distinction. Why? Because! No matter what the Biblical setting the person is saying I choose God. Words arise out of pain, words arise out of wonderment, it is as if the words don’t matter. Only the belief in God matters.
The texts go on, Solomon, Isaiah, the Psalmist, Paul and even Jesus starts from the quotient “God is.” I find our members who bring “God talk” into their post share this common belief. Again, “God is!”
That brings us to the second group of people. They take the position “God isn’t.”
I cannot speak for this group. In fact I have spent most of the day trying to. What alarms me is we have become a comfortable society. Even with an illness that seems to be out of control trust for many falls into the medical system. Someone will figure it out.
Because so many resign themselves to the “scientific” approach, to the approach tied to medical health care systems words almost become moot. The important thing then shifts away from words to maintaining an acceptable attitude.
Even in the religious community words are confused. For instance in the Christian environment three additional groups have emerged since I started my work (50 years).
The first is a group that suggests healing is a matter of belief. Biblical words are often strung together to make a point. If you accept this point you will be healed. If you aren’t then there is something wrong with you.
The second group is a form of Christian hedonism. This group again takes Biblical words and strings them together to justify a successful materialistic lifestyle. There is a demanding process that surfaces. A very clear set of words and values take shape. Every now and then a new person is added to this group proving it is a legitimate way to believe.
The third group, a form of Christian agnosticism, in the midst of all the tragedy and struggles, chooses not to blame God for the failures nor do they talk about miraculous healings. They talk about the teachings of Jesus as a way of life. In this process a way of life is viewed as a way to stand against evil. Sarcoidosis would clearly be seen as the result of evil.
Language arises out of perspective and beliefs. I appreciate the perspective of some of our new team of moderators.
The group of 30 were asked to consider the situation that arose. A conclusion was conceived. We are a secular environment. We started like so many hospitals, schools, social groupings. Even though starting from a faith premise we are/were appealing to many outside a faith basis. As the group grew it has become imperative to nurture inclusive language. An adjustment was necessary to remain nurturing a healing environment. It is also imperative people from both religious and non-religious groupings understand words change in meaning over time. Therefore time has to be taken to discover what is actually being said. Knee jerk reactions, assumptions, conclusions, and actions based on wrong interpretation is wrong in and of itself.
Therefore the solution is to be found in the willingness to seek not just a middle road of compromise but THE HIGH ROAD OF GRACE AND ACCEPTANCE.