Thursday, July 12, 2012

the bloodied heart

As I grow older and experience more life- listen to the struggles and everyday experiences of friends and family I realize how living results in this continual breaking open, expanding, and bloody-ing of our hearts.

Through time we get beat up, torn apart, and humbled.
       The pain of not living up to our own expectations, or the expectations of others.
       The realization of our own limited capabilities.
       The demands of parenthood- loss of 'self', loss of time, loss of brain cells and focus.
       The trauma of deaths of our parents and loved ones- life ripped away too soon.
       Not being accepted for who we are- not being sure of who we are.
       The pain of broken relationships- friendships and marriages- resentment, frustration,
        hurt, & anger.

It seems like somewhere along the line- after the idealistic entry into adulthood- these experiences start and they just keep coming. No end in sight they pile up one after another leaving no room to heal from one before the next arrives.

What are we to do with this? What are we to do with this bloody mess? This open, raw, fragile heart?

This is The Question.

Will we bleed all over others- make our pain the pain of all we come in contact with?

Will we become paralyzed- a heap of organs submitting to the gravity of life?


Will this rawness create a new space?

an opening for compassion?

a vulnerability toward others?

Is there enough grace to hold this bloody heart just as it is? Not expecting a miraculous return to the cleanliness of the past-
but an acceptance- an appreciation- perhaps even a noticing of the beauty of what is?

For the gift of having been broken open?
For the wisdom that comes from heartbreak?

What will come of this bloody mess?

*artwork by Cyd Holley

Sunday, July 1, 2012

with God's help...

For those who were unable to be at the service yesterday- here are the words spoken...

The Covenant of Ordination
Jose Morales & Amanda Henderson

My Sister in the faith, do you believe that you are truly called by God and the Church to the life and work of ministry in the name of Jesus Christ? 
I do. 
Paul the apostle testified, “It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me.”  Will  you endeavor to be diligent in your practice of the Christian life: of taking time to read and explore the scriptures, to spend time in prayer, to be present to all people, and to strive for peace in God's name?
I will, with the help of God. 
Scripture teaches that the Church was devoted to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Will you endeavor faithfully to fulfill your calling among the people committed to your care: by preaching the word of God and the apostolic faith; and by presiding at the celebration of baptism and the Lord's Supper? 
I will, with the help of God. 
Scripture points towards ministers who are committed to caring for others, not by constraint but willingly, not for selfish gain but eagerly, not by domineering over those in their charge but by example. Will you endeavor to care for the people of God: nourishing, teaching, and encouraging them; giving direction to the life of the congregation; counseling the troubled; declaring God’s forgiveness of sin; celebrating life and proclaiming victory over death? 
I will, with the help of God. 
The Spirit of God led Jesus to preach good news to the poor, proclaiming release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, liberating the oppressed, and pointing to the Realm of God. Will you endeavor to walk with the people of God to the global mission of the Church: guiding their concern for justice, peace, and freedom for all people; and taking a responsible place in the governance of the Church and in service to the world? 
I will, with the help, of God. 
The apostle Paul proclaims the Church to be one body with many members. Will you endeavor to live and work in unity with all Christians: witnessing to the visible unity of the Church; cooperating with Disciples colleagues in the ministry of the congregational, regional, general and ecumenical church; and leading the Church in fulfilling its ministry of reconciliation- not only for Christians, but for all of humanity?
I will, with the help of God.
In the beginning the Spirit stirred over the waters and created life out of chaos. Throughout time God's creative and life giving energy has continued to bring new life to parched and thirsty land. Will you endeavor to step into God's creative rhythm to be a part of something new; to imagine new ways to be in ministry in our world today?
I will with the help of God.
Jesus allowed God and others to love him, then shared this love in incredible ways.  Will you allow others to help you and to love you?  Will you take to heart the words “nothing can separate you from the love of God”.  Will you take time to rest in God’s love and to share holy love with Kyle, Mia, Faith and Ryan- with all of your family and friends?  
I will with the help of God.
As you serve, pray, laugh, cry, write, play, run, learn, help others, and serve God will you strive to be the full person that God has called you to be– not conforming but constantly being transformed into a beloved child of God?
I will with the help of God.
May God who has given you the will to do these things give you grace to perform them.  Amanda, God who called you is faithful and will not fail you.

painting by Sandra Silberzweig


Years ago, searching for a church, my family stumbled into Heart of the Rockies, and sensed that this place was our home. Shortly after, I was invited to teach Sunday School.
To that invitation I said ‘yes’, sure I think I can do that. 
I had no idea what I was getting into. When I showed up to that first class- I felt completely helpless- I had no idea what I was doing, or why I had been asked to do it.
However in that saying ‘yes’- I learned. I learned the gifts of children’s curiosity... I came to see the Bible stories that we glimpse at as a child in new and deeper ways. I had the opportunity to be a part of the growth and transformation of young people.
A few years after that Kyle and I were invited to serve at the communion table- and to this new and foreign invitation we said ‘yes’.. sure- that looks like something we can do.
And then that moment when I first stepped up to the table to serve- my knees began to shake- my voice began to quiver- and I wondered ‘what am I doing here? I don’t know anything about anything’- I can’t even seem to memorize the words of institution!
However- in saying yes- to that invitation-- I experienced deep and profound growth as I came to realize the meaning of communion..
I received the gift of serving- the gift of looking into each person’s eyes and saying- this is the body of Christ, the cup of salvation- given for you.
It was in this space, in saying yes to this mysterious invitation, that I first began to sense a call to ministry. 
And here I am again, I find myself saying yes. Knees trembling, voice quivering. Yes. Yes to living into my gifts, yes to moving deeper into relationship with God, and yes to working for justice for all people.
This is a table that none of us can fully understand as we approach. None of us know what transformation will occur when we take of this bread and drink of this cup.
In saying yes, we step into the Divine mystery - We become a part of the body of Christ.
What are your own gifts - what are you saying yes to? 

What do you have to give?