June 2015

The crowd came together again, so that Jesus and his disciples could not even eat. When his family heard it, they went out to restrain him, for people were saying, “He has gone out of his mind.” Mark 3:21

June- can you believe it?!  We have just left the joy-filled readings and celebrations of Easter and celebrated Pentecost and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit who leads us into all truth. And we have begun to grapple with the words and imagery that invite us to go beyond the creeds and doctrine, and to imagine, and begin to live into, the reality of relationship with God the Holy Trinity- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, one God.

We do our best to understand… and then, just when we might think that we’re moving along and getting a clue, we get hit with the Gospel of the first Sunday of June…. It could be subtitled, Crazy Jesus! Ready to follow? Come and be a Crazy Christian!

Crazy Christians, as Bishop Michael Curry told us in his sermon and book, are people who have heard and believed the Good News of the Kingdom of God that Jesus went about proclaiming: they have heard and agreed that God’s Way is counter-cultural, counter-self, counter-status quo. It is counter intuitive, too, for it requires that the very things we want to hold onto the tight- est are the things we have to let go of in order to gain them fully. Yikes that is hard! And it surely does feel as if it would be easier and safer and surely more reasonable to be… well, reasonable.

And yet… Jesus’ mother and brothers would not have come knocking at the door if Jesus were being reasonable. Jesus was deliberately teaching something both counter cultural and unreasonable: that family is about becoming like the father. That the relationship is not grounded in blood, but being like the Father – in loving and serving others.

This is Crazy. It defies our inclinations now just as it did then.

The readings in the Sundays after Pentecost show us Jesus’ path, and it may well seem crazy – certainly unnecessary and odd. All summer long, Mark will show us that Jesus is, indeed, moving right along… immediately moving on and not stopping for an instant to assuage objections that he is not being reasonable! He goes about casting out demons, anointing and healing people; sending his followers out to teach and heal; feeding, touching, caring for people in need, and upsetting the reasonable order of things as he goes. This story beckons us, too, to give up life as usual, and to enter, instead, into the wild and crazy life of true discipleship.

Three summers ago, I heard Bishop Michael Curry call us, the church, to this kind of crazy life. (You can listen to it too: https:// www.youtube.com/watch? v=abJMKeyCWoQ. ) His words and call rang true to me then, and still do:

“We need some Christians who are as crazy as the Lord. Crazy enough to love like Jesus, to give like Jesus, to forgive like Jesus, to do justice, love mercy, walk humbly with God — like Jesus. Crazy enough to dare to change the world from the nightmare it often is into something close to the dream that God dreams for it. And for those who would follow him, those who would be his disciples, those who would live as and be the people of the Way?It might come as a shock, but they are called to craziness.

Yes – Crazy Christians! Let’s make that the goal of the summer – to be such Crazy Chris- tians that people show up at our door to find out what in the world is going on here. Let them find Pentecost spilling over into our whole lives! It’s just crazy enough to be the Gospel!

Blessings as we journey on!

With love,  Vicar Janet

May 24, 2015

Breathe on me, breath of God,
fill me with life anew, that I may love what thou dost love, and do what thou wouldst do.

Breathe on me, breath of God,
until my heart is pure, until with thee I will one will, to do or so endure.

Breathe on me breath of God, till I am wholly thine, until this earthly part of me glows with thy fire divine.

Breathe on me, breath of God,
so shall I never die;
but live with thee the perfect life of thine eternity.

Words: Edwin Hatch (1835- 1889)

This old-time Pentecost Hymn is one of my favorites – in part because it causes me to stop, close my eyes, and in my imagination, feel the very breath of God upon my face, filling me with that Sweet Holy Spirit – the Fire of Love!

Our symbols for Pentecost bring to mind both tongues of fire-strong, consuming on the move power; and the white dove, bringing to our minds comfort, peace, gentle love, freedom. Both are part of God, and surely part of our experiences of the Holly Spirit. Both are necessary to more fully know this awesome God who brings us new life, daily ~ but neither is anywhere close to the fullness of God, and God the Holy Spirit. Pentecost re- minds us that we get glimpses of the Spirit transforming us and the world – but we surely don’t see the whole picture.

As Jesus reminds us, “The wind blows where it will. You hear its sound, but you don’t know where the wind comes from or where it is going. That is the way it is with everyone born of the Spirit” . (John 3:8) In Cursillo and Kairos we say a prayer that reminds us to seek this wild, life-giving, life-renewing God with all of our hearts and souls and being… Here it is – let us pray it with joy, as we embrace all that we celebrate on Pentecost :

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in us the fire of your love.
Send forth your Spirit and we shall be created,
and you shall renew the face of the earth.

O God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit
did instruct the hearts of the faithful,
grant that by the same Holy Spirit
we may be truly wise and ever enjoy your consolations. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen!

Vicar Janet