so different

Bishop Desmond Tutu said this:

“Unless we work assiduously so that all of God’s children, our brothers and sisters, members of one human family, all will enjoy basic human rights, the right to a fulfilled life, the right of movement, the freedom to be fully human, within a humanity measured by nothing less than the humanity of Jesus Christ Himself, then we are on the road inexorably to self-destruction, we are not far from global suicide – and yet it could be so different.”

Would that Pentecost be unleashed by the people of Jesus.  Would that we found a way to stop sniping at each other and instead saw the Holy in all.  Would that we let go of fear and opened to possibility.  Would that the church be grace and light, joy and delight; affirming the unique shine of each.

Why are the people of Jesus so shuttered and closed?  We know the Way.  Would that we lived it.

water washed

My children tease me about many things. 

What is predictable is a tease following baptisms.  I love being able to be a part of baptisms.  The power of enfolding and naming and proclaiming grace and identity on behalf of the movement through the ages makes me near crazy with wonder.  Without exception, I believe with all I am that the babies know well that they are participating in miracle.  They are “right there” with their eyes:  open, aware, present, holy.  So I come home bubbling with the story of how it is holy communion is shared and my children know the ways that their mother’s heart has to tell the story or burst.  So they listen, God bless them.

This past Sunday has me humming yet.  Baptised in the midst of a community of grace and joy were a mom and her three-year old.  Both of them are wise beyond the ages.

The wee one was held by her mother and baptised first.  As an invitation to feel the sweet of the baptismal water, I asked her if she wanted to feel it, knowing that she would.

Her sweet palm was nestled in the water of grace as she was baptised.

And then, when it came time to baptise her mother, I asked her if she wanted to help, knowing that of course she would.

And so we blessed in the name of the Creator, the Redeemer, the Sustainer.  Water; gift of earth, flow of life, wash of grace was gentled onto the head of a woman who is already witness of the Way.

She who was nurtured in the water of her mother’s womb used water to bless and welcome her mother to life.

Water washed, wonder full.

again and still: humility

I am blessed to be colleague with a pastor very different from me.

Phillip was born in Vietnam.  He came to know the power of Jesus and knew from that moment on that he could not be still; even in Communist Vietnam, even at the risk of his freedom and life, even when jailed, even when cast adrift as a boat person, even and thank God, now.

Phillip serves here as the Vietnamese Language minister.  His congregation is new.  Members of his church are first generation immigrants and their children.  Some speak English fluently; many over the age of twenty do not.  They are members of Richfield UMC and there is much to be learned from them about what it means to be thrown into a new culture, language, customs and mores.

And there is much to be learned through them about this thing called being a Christian.

What I am moved by is the power of wonder and how that transforms faith.  For Phillip and his congregation, being a right-out-loud Christian is yet a marvel.  It is gift, this walk with Jesus, and sharing the gift has the urgency of life unbound. 

I am humbled.  I am humbled by the ways my brother Phillip and his congregation share their witness.  The teachings of Jesus are shared with  joy and gratitude and newness of life and when did the mainline church become so bored by transformation that we lost our urgency?

I am humbled.  God sends into our lives those who jiggle complacency and so it is for me.  Again and still, I grow in the rich loam of humility.