Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Who actually makes a difference?

This morning, I read a short sermon written by John Bell (of the Iona Community in Scotland) from his book States of BLISS and Yearning (2002). He takes the reader/listener through John's description of Jesus meeting a woman at the well including the problems inherent with talking to her, who she might be and ramifications of the conversation.

As I reflected on this essay, I was struck by my similarity to the woman -- not to Jesus . My life has, at times, been less than upright and wonderful. I have done things I regretted, even at the time I was doing them. I wish I could go back and change things, though I know that not even the gods can change has has been, to paraphrase Agathon 440 BCE. As I entered seminary I frequently asked "why me?" Me, raised Roman Catholic, who cannot quote scripture all that well. Me, who at various times in my life, has been alienated and seriously questioned whether there is a God. Me, who does not want to evangelize from the street corner. Why am I doing this? Why not some better suited?

Then in my more reflective time - perhaps when I am actually listening to the mystery I call God - I get this idea that not everyone who seeks God can quote scripture or even wants to. Most everyone who seeks - who has been alienated - who has huge doubts - wants something larger than themselves to believe in or to blame for ill-fortune at times or to pray to in times when everything seems impossible. And, these "spiritual but not religious folk" that I want to reach pass the street-corner evangelist with barely a glance. This outlook gives me hope that maybe I am in the right place at the right time -- for someone. Even if only one person were to find a link to the Divine because I was here, then I am in the right place.

Who knows what the link will be. For example, Sunday evening, I gave a ride to a student who spent most of our hour in the car telling me why there is not God (he is reading Ayn Rand). I spent time countering his rational argument by offering faith with about as much luck as the street-corner evangelist has with me. He did not listen any more than I do to the person crying out "REPENT!" But maybe, in the recesses of my mind, I did hear message - perhaps in the back of his mind, he did to. After I dropped him at his home, I was reflecting on my inability to get through to him and wondered why I should be this preacher-person when I realized that I am only the messenger. God does the work.

May the work that God does bless you and make you smile and keep you warm and offer you good and Godly things.

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