Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Religious Root Canals

I've spent the last few days pondering the roots of my family and faith. I have dwelt in coincidental moments of bliss, fear, fun, and bewilderment.

For example, we had a wonderful time this last weekend at St. James. Our OctoberBlest celebration was a huge success. The food was excellent. The gift baskets were beautiful! The fellowship was fun and fruitful. It was more than I could have expected and hoped for and reminded me of what a blessing it is to have wise and committed lay leaders and parishioners. We continued with our festivities on Sunday morning. The liturgy was really quite good if I don't say so myself and the music was superb! The choir performed a wonderful rendition of a hymn that was commissioned for the parish on the celebration of its centennial last year. We finished up with a rousing recessional singing of Lead Me, Guide Me. The tune reminded me and others of our Baptist roots. We aren't nearly as good as the Greater Fountain of Life Male Chorus but we surely enjoyed praising our Lord as best as we could.
In sum, it was a wonderful time. Our patron saint, St. James of Jerusalem hopefully would have appreciated the activities we engaged in to honor him and his outreach to the Gentiles. I pray that everything that we accomplished this past weekend may serve as a celebratory and dynamic springboard for accomplishing Jesus Christ's work, prayer, and play in the weeks, months, and years to come.

My thoughts and prayer have not only dwelt on what is happening at the parish where I serve. My mother has been ill for many weeks now. My sister, brother, other relatives, friends, and neighbors celebrated her birthday back in June. She had an automobile accident just a couple of weeks thereafter. She's been in and out of the hospital since that time. Thus, many of us have been wrestling with the difficulties of what to do as our 90-year-old mother's health and spirits are failing. It's not been easy and I'm learning about the experiences that many parishioners have shared with me when their parents' health declines and end-of-life issues surface and require immediate and strategic attention.

The best of times and the worst of times are spiritual and real-world "root canal" events in some ways. Church celebrations allow church members to recognize the difficulties of the past, the realities of the present, and the hopes for the future. We celebrate the dreams and inspiration that our ancestors have offered to us while fully knowing that our common life with one another has never been easy and often been complicated. Nonetheless we seize upon the opportunity to offer our thanks, raise money for our mission, and move forward with our faith and trust in a loving and blessed God who has brought us this far and will us and those that follow in the future even further.

On a personal level, my familial circumstances are not indifferent. We are coming to a crossroads when each and all of us will have to reconcile the realities of our paths, gather with one another to be with, and encourage one another in the uncertainties of today, and assess what steps lie ahead and should be trod. The root canal metaphor especially works in this case because family dynamics are never with wounds. Cleansing, forgiveness, and healing need to occur. Bandages, and in some cases, long term infectious, compassionate control needs to offered and received. It's intriguing in my own experience because almost all families, including mine, are in need of Jesus Christ's re-conciliatory Grace. Repentance and return to The Lord hand in hand needs to occur. Spiritual and real world root canals hurt. However the operation itself and the time thereafter provide clean and sacred moments for improved health and contentment to occur.

Each day of living seemingly provides us a palette of emotional shades to behold and belong in. How we experience God within the 525,600 minutes of each year presents the basis for the ways in which we live our lives.
For Christians, our births, our trials, our triumphs, our temptations, our turbulent times, and our times of total happiness reside in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus the Christ who came into the world so that we might experience God's love, compassion, and hope more fully with our families and churches alike.

Blessings Along The Way, Jim+

No comments:

Post a Comment