Wind Chimes: 12 Oct 2012

We continue to listen to Job’s story. The Spirit moves the chimes (or not). Is it a persistent sound in the chimes? Is it still and quiet? What do you hear?

Trust

Quote . . .I remember sitting parked by the roadside once, terribly depressed and afraid about my daughter’s illness and what was going on in our family, when out of nowhere a car came along down the highway with a license plate that bore on it the one word out of all the words in the dictionary that I needed most to see exactly then. The word was TRUST. What do you call a moment like that? Something to laugh off as the kind of joke life plays on us every once in a while? The word of God? I am willing to believe that maybe it was something of both, but for me it was an epiphany. The owner of the car turned out to be, as I’d suspected, a trust officer in a bank, and not long ago, having read an account I wrote of the incident somewhere, he found out where I lived and one afternoon brought me the license plate itself, which sits propped up on a bookshelf in my house to this day. It is rusty around the edges and a little battered, and it is also as holy a relic as I have ever seen.

Buechner, Frederick (2009-10-13). Listening to Your Life: Daily Meditations with Frederick Buechner (pp. 326-327). Harper Collins, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

I AM “None of the above”

Quote . . .The number of Americans who say they have no religious affiliation has hit an all-time high — about one in five American adults —  according to a new study released Tuesday (Oct. 9) by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. … Pew partnered with the PBS television series Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly to survey 500 additional unaffiliated Americans. Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly will air a three-part series about the unaffiliated beginning with its Oct. 12 broadcast. —Religion News Service 10/9/2012

Whether we “like it” or not this is where we live now. As people in relationship with God we live and move and work and play among those who are not so sure or who believe there is no God. What are we to make of this new landscape? It is a topic worth exploring in our homes, in our Forum, and in our church.

Note: there is a link to a PBS Preview of the series in the RNS article: Losing our religion: One in five Americans are now ‘nones.’

A prayer

Give me, O Lord, a steadfast heart, which no unworthy affection may drag downwards; give me an unconquered heart, which no tribulation can wear out; give me an upright heart, which no unworthy purpose may tempt aside. Bestow on me also, O Lord my God, understanding to know Thee, diligence to seek Thee, wisdom to find Thee, and a faithfulness that may finally embrace Thee. Amen. —Saint Thomas Aquinas

Shannon, Maggie Oman (2009-12-22). Prayers for Hope and Comfort: Reflections, Meditations, and Inspirations (p. 10). RedWheelWeiser – A. Kindle Edition.

John Coleridge Patteson

A Collect commemorating John Coleridge Patteson and his Companions; Bishop of Melanesia, Martyrs, 1871

Almighty God, you called your faithful servant John Coleridge Patteson and his companions to be witnesses and martyrs in the islands of Melanesia, and by their labors and sufferings raised up a people for your own possession: Pour out your Holy Spirit upon your Church in every land, that by the service and sacrifice of many, your holy Name may be glorified and your kingdom enlarged; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(Collect for the Commemoration of John Coleridge Patteson, in Holy Women, Holy Men)

Inspired by offline encouragement, I find myself wandering through the Collects (prayers used by many churches including the Episcopal Church at the start of worship). Come wander with me. Hear what the Spirit is saying, as you listen to what we ask (and what we say about ourselves and our God) in the Collect we pray as we commemorate John Coleridge Patteson and his companions.

“you called” (let’s consider this one element of the Collect)

Once again we acknowledge a characteristic of God: Almighty God (One so beyond us) is also One who calls (a very personal, very intimate activity).

If God speaks anywhere, it is into our personal lives that he speaks. Someone we love dies, say. Some unforeseen act of kindness or cruelty touches the heart or makes the blood run cold. We fail a friend, or a friend fails us, and we are appalled at the capacity we all of us have for estranging the very people in our lives we need the most.

“If God speaks anywhere,
it is into our personal lives”

Or maybe nothing extraordinary happens at all—just one day following another, helter-skelter, in the manner of days. We sleep and dream. We wake. We work. We remember and forget. We have fun and are depressed. And into the thick of it, or out of the thick of it, at moments of even the most humdrum of our days, God speaks.
Buechner, Frederick (2009-10-13). Listening to Your Life: Daily Meditations with Frederick Buechne (pp. 2-3). Harper Collins, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

I believe (with Buechner and many others) that God speaks (“calls”) through persons and events in our lives. It is a very personal communication if we are paying attention. By paying attention I mean listening and wondering in prayer, in study, in quiet, in action (as we do what we believe God is “calling” us to do). In each of these moments we gain information. When what we “hear” is confirmed by others in our faith community, we can definitely go forward with boldness (like John Coleridge Patteson and his companions).

What are your thoughts as you listen to this prayer, especially the notion of “call”? What are your experiences, your hopes, your beliefs, given voice in this prayer? Please continue the conversation in the Comment section. Be well. Do good. Pay attention. Keep learning.