Friday, February 25, 2011

VIII Epiphany

Readings are here.

From the psalm:
But I still my soul and make it quiet,
like a child upon its mother's breast; *
my soul is quieted within me.

When I read through the lessons for today - I immediately thought of our primroses. A few weeks ago we were buying some primroses. Our children and their children came to visit and so they sat on the porch unplanted. From the warm sunny false spring of early February - the weather has been more like Wyoming the last few days - cold, bitter, snowy. So we have been putting our plants in the garage at night and maybe next week we will get them in the ground where they will have a better chance to grow and thrive.

Here at St. Catherine's we hope to grow and thrive as a point of God's presence in the communities we serve. Santa Catalina, served by Padre Jorge (George) is certainly growing and thriving with the majority of our younger families and children. Last week 75 people attended a Presentation of a three year old child. St. Catherine's is active with service to the the area. New members have come to join us and are adding their gifts to the already wonderful gifts present in our midst. Plans for a Vacation Bible School are in the works for summer. While we are still looking for new leadership for the Grub Club - many are willing workers for that program. Other ministries continue in quiet ways and soon Lent will be upon us with its commitment to a deeper faith. The Search Committee is organizing ways, like our meeting today, to discern who will be called as Vicar for the next stage of the journey even as we pray that God is already preparing the heart of the one who is to come.

It is easy to get anxious and worry about the search process, who will come, will we have enough money, will our church grow, do we have a future? Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians, calls us to be stewards and be trustworthy. The first step in this is to turn to God and ask what are you, God, calling us to be. And then to be faithful to our call. We plant and water this part of God's vineyard and look to God for the growth. Being a steward is different from being an owner. As things change - as they always do - it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking we are owners. When we feel that reaction - "but we never did it that way" welling up inside- stop and examine what is it we worry or fear will happen or is happening? I know for me - liturgical dance sets off my -- oh no - not in "my" church. Or sometimes a different tune to a hymn than is familiar to me. If I stop and let my reaction pass - then examine the actual event -- I calm down and can see what I might learn.

Jesus words in our Gospel are particularly focused on no worrying or being anxious. He begins with "no one can serve two masters." Jesus talks about money, wealth and possessions more than any other subject except prayer. It is his second favorite topic. However, this gospel is not a diatribe about having wealth but a lesson on the right place of wealth and possessions in our lives. Nor is this about not planning for the future. His point is that if possessions, clothing, or what will happen, consume our minds - there is no place for God. Think about it like a pie chart - if you try to fit God into a section of the pie - then the other things crowd out God or we do not have balance in our lives. If we put God in the center - then all things take their rightful place. The kindom of God permeates all that we do. The future will take happen regardless - we may be able to plan some of it but we do not know what will emerge. Today is all we know. The past is gone - it influences today but we cannot change it. Today we can make choices as things arise - trusting God to be with us in these choices if they are faith-filled.

Thomas Merton:
My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you and I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing.
And I know that if I do this, you will lead me by the right road although I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death, I will not fear, for you are ever with me and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

Or Oscar Romero's Prayer.

Or perhaps Mary Oliver:

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean--
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down--
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?

or maybe -- show up, pay attention, don't get attached to the outcome.