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The Discernment Committee

We are all
in the discernment process
every day
whether we know it or not.
It may be a formal process
with biweekly
committee meetings
working through
a set agenda
helping us discern
what we should become
and how we should get there.

At times
the discernment committee
gathers round the water cooler
and members
talk of their weekends
offering advice
that shape our journey
unintentionally.

Discernment committees
often meet
unaware
in unexpected places
with unexpected guests
like the altar guild’s
midday
midweek
Eucharist
as they put down their knitting
jam making
linen cleaning
friendly gossip
and welcome
a younger aspirant
to the Lord’s table.

Today
we say goodbye to Joan
who in her earthly life
did so much;
often that others were unaware of
and at times
that she too
was unaware of
until she received
her heavenly crown.

The Sacrament of Animal Crackers

I open the box
of animal crackers
wondering
what they signify
to me.

I count them,
arrange them,
looking
at the different species
and broken pieces.

It is a writers’ prompt.
What do these crackers
represent?
What is their story?

I stare blankly,
waiting for inspiration
but all I can think of
are the forty nine
who died
at The Pulse
a gay nightclub
in Orlando.

Who were they?

I think of the nine that died
in Charleston,
the twenty six
in Sandy Hook.

I think of Columbine
and Aurora,
of San Bernadino
and Virginia tech.

Who were they?

I eat the animal crackers
remembering
the innocent days of my childhood
and those who were killed
because they were different;
because they were gay,
Latino,
black,
or simply
because they were in the right place
at the wrong time.

What if
every time
we ate
animal crackers,
or anything else
for that matter,
we remembered;
we remembered the victims,
the broken,
the grieving,
and those who sought
to bring love
and compassion
for everyone?

These are my animal crackers
broken for you.

Father's Day 2016

Father’s Day
Juneteenth
two thousand and sixteen:
The Psalm asks
“Why are you so full of heaviness, O my soul?”
and I respond
because no one heeds the epistle
“There is no longer Jew or Greek,”
and I think of Orlando;
straight or gay,
Muslim or Christian,
and all the other
false divisions
for we are all one in Christ Jesus.

Then I read the Old Testament lesson
and the news headlines,
but the Lord was not in the news headlines,
and I read the social media posts
but the Lord was not in the social media posts
so I sat quietly
and wept
for Stanley
and Amanda
and Oscar
and Cory
and Tevin
and Javier
and the list just goes on and on
and the Lord was in
the sound of sheer silence.

So I read the Gospel
and the news headlines
and found our woes are called
Legion
for many demons
have entered our political discourse.

Then I returned to the Psalm
“Why are you so full of heaviness, O my soul?”
and I replied
“I will yet give thanks to God.”

Discernment

“I don’t know how to love him”
plays in my brain
as I read this week’s lesson.

“A woman of the city,
who was a sinner”
and I stop to think
of my own sinfulness.

George Herbert asks,
“She being stain’d her self,
why did she strive
To make him clean”?

Yet I find myself with Mary
stain’d my self
not knowing
“What to do, how to move him”
“Should I scream and shout?
Should I speak of love,
Let my feelings out?”

On Facebook
a friend shared a link
“Thinking about ordination?
Think again”
and the soundtrack
of Jesus Christ
Superstar
swells in my soul:

“Yet
If he said he loved me
I'd be lost
I'd be frightened”

“Entering this ministry
will be one of the hardest things
you will ever do”

After fifty six years
I’m still trying to find
the ministries
I’m called to.

In our Baptismal Vows
we are all called
to seek and serve Christ
in all persons.
That is hard enough

But when and why
are we called
to be
deacons,
priests,
bishops,
or other roles
in the church?

The article warns
that for the ordained
“You’ll be made to feel insignificant…”
“You will feel a deep sense of loneliness…”
“You will have friends who will walk away from you…
“You will disappoint people…”
“You will disappoint yourself…”

Even just in discernment
I have felt most of this.

Another song from
Mary in
Jesus Christ Superstar
comes to mind.

“Can we start again please?”
As I wander down
this discernment path
when it gets tough
and I know that I cannot do this
alone
I long for the days
when I could blissfully
convince myself
I had not heard God’s Call.

Then an upcoming lesson
responds
“No one who puts a hand
to the plow
and looks back
is fit for the kingdom of God”

I am not fit
for the kingdom of God.
I have disappointed people
I have disappointed myself.
I have disappointed God.
I am not worthy
so much
as to gather the crumbs.

“But thou art the same Lord,
whose property is always
to have mercy”

The article ends,
“Maybe you can’t do this.
That’s okay.
Because God can.”

And Mary’s lyrics come back
“He scares me so
I want him so
I love him so”

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