Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Spiritual Work

In a monthly email I receive from "Friends of Silence" I read the following and wanted to share them with you here on my blog.

A spirituality of work is based on a heightened sense of sacramentality, of the idea that everything that is, is holy and that our hands consecrate it to the service of God. . . when we care for everything we touch and touch it reverently, we become the creators of a new universe. Then we sanctify our work and our work sanctifies us.
A spirituality of work puts us in touch with our own creativity. . . Work enables us to put our personal stamp of approval . . . the autograph of our souls on the development of the world. . .
A spirituality of work draws us out of ourselves and, at the same time, makes us more of what we are meant to be. Good work . . . develops qualities of compassion and character in me.
My work also develops everything around it. There is nothing I do that does not affect the world in which I live. In developing a spirituality of work, I learn to trust beyond reason that good work will gain good things for the world, even when I don't expect them and I can't see them.
~ Joan Chittister, in "Vision and Viewpoint," an e-newsletter

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The least of these

On Tuesday, September 18, 7 teenagers joined myself and a co-worker on a trip to the local Rescue Mission in Roanoke, Virginia. That evening between the hours of 5:00 pm and 7:30 pm we served 350 people. Since we began serving in January of this year this number surpassed our record of 324 in January. On this particular night we saw a noticeable increase in the number of families and the size of each family. Parents came to ensure they and their children had a meal to eat and a roof over their head to sleep under. We also served people under the age of 30, middle aged men and senior citizens(those who would qualify for Social Security). And as always it included veterans. I don't know their personal stories but I do know the feeling of not being able to put food on the table. During 2011 there was a period of time where I did not have enough money to buy groceries after rent, prescriptions and utilities were paid for. I can tell you from personal experience that food, housing and health care are not an entitlement in life but a necessity FOR life. We all need food to sustain our bodies so it will work to keep us breathing, we need a roof over our heads so that we can reasonably live a long life and yes, we do need health care so when we have the unexpected cold or illness or have to mange a chronic illness the money is there to pay for it.

My life has changed dramatically since 2011, from struggling to put food on the table to now having a job that actually affords me to have money at the end of the month. Because the lord has blessed me I want and should bless those who are in need. In Matthew chapter 25 we read of the passage about a King (the Son of man) who says to the people,

"Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me."

As Christians we are called to serve the least of these. To feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick and the imprisoned, we are actually serving our Lord. This seems like a simple and a reasonable thing to do in light of the cross.

I invite all to step outside your homes and your churches and volunteer at your local Rescue Mission, food bank or soup kitchen. For when you do, you will look into the eyes of your brother and sister and acknowledge their humanity. I believe we can use a lot for of this than we can of the marginalization we are currently creating in America.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

In Memoriam

On this day eleven years ago, it was a Tuesday and one of two days I had class. I was sitting in the student lounge @ the Divinity School @ Campbell University. I had arrived to school early to finish a paper for my afternoon class. I wanted to complete it before our weekly chapel service @ 10:50 am. A classmate came into the lounge and said, "Did you hear that a plain crashed into one of the twin towers?" My eyes went wide opened and my jaw dropped. I couldn't say anything, I was unable to say anything. Someone found a radio and we turned it on. As we listened to reporters we learned of the 2nd plane hitting the other twin tower. At that point we all new this was more than and accident. I remember feeling scared and numb all at the same time. As all of us went to chapel there was an Erie silence that was deafening. Our Director of Admissions stood before the student body and said, "Our nation has been attacked." As I write these wrods it is still sobering to think about.

I imagine if I asked everyone I see today where were you 11 years ago today most could recall it as clear as I have. It has been 11 years, one year more than a decade and it still affects me. I don't think it will ever NOT affect me.

Last week when I was on vacation someone hit my bumper while I was parked in a grocery store parking lot. I called my insurance company and the next day a claim representative called me to say she had scheduled an appointment for my car to be seen and the damagesbe  assessed. She told me where I was going and that the appointment was on Tuesday, September 11. I paused. I always pause when I here September 11. I know people whose birthday is September 11. They have never said how they deal with that and I wonder how I would.

All I know is that I am thankful for all the firefighters, policemen and port authority employees who went they day to save whomever they could. I will remember all the lives who died that day and the people they left behind.

Take time to remember and honor those who sacrificed that day and those who are no longer with us because of the events on that day.

God Bless us All.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Grace Emerges: Let It Go

Can we learn to "let go"?

Grace Emerges: Let It Go: by Brad Duncan I was considering the phrase "let it go".  It seems like such wisdom, compared to the alternative which is to hold on to so...