Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Brian’s Reflection: Thursday, Oct 2, 2008

I think love has something to do with allowing
a person you claim to love to enter a larger arena
than the one you create for them.

I was brought up as a Catholic and went to church
every week and took the sacraments. It never really
touched the core of my being.

- Sting, musician, born on this day, 1951, in England

I like Sting’s music ….. mostly. From what I read, though, of his thoughts, I’m not sure I would want to spend much time with him. But then, Sting is quoted as saying, “I realize that nothing’s as it seems.” Now, that’s as true a reality as anyone ever spoke!

The vicar of the church where Dennis and I worship, and the four other priests including myself who assist there, were meeting today. Good talk together. One thing we agreed on was that the Episcopal Church is a sacramental church, and that this is critical to our identity. I have often said to people that one of the great blessings of a sacramental church is simply this: that if everything else is unappetizing on any given day of worship ….. sermon, people, music, etc ….. you at least always come away having been soul-glutted on Life and Love, poured out by God, that Great Tea-granny of the Universe. Unless you’re fatally self-shut-down, the Eucharist never fails to bring you back to Life. It is a sad thing to think that Sting was so badly “taught” in his sacramental church that it never touched the core of his being. I was touched, age 19, and it changed my destiny.

Perhaps Sting did, however, get “touched”. I’d like to think so. What he says about love is spot on. The Mystery I call God never seeks to put me in a box, force me to be anything I am not, fairly pushes me out of the false Edens in which I think I would like to languish, and requires me to enter a larger arena than the one my un-self-respecting nature often sinks me in. Oh, I know: many people read the story of the expulsion from the mythical Garden as the work of a nasty God. I don’t. I see it as God making sure that we confront our reality and rise to the challenge. Every step of the way, God, like Jesus on the road to Emmaus, walks, often unrecognized, ready to open our unseeing eyes. Love sets free.

If Sting’s church was unfaithful in its sacramental nature, distracted by other agendas, may it be forgiven. Happily, it has been my experience that Sacraments have a way of transcending human abuse.


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