PEOPLE TODAY HUNGER for spiritual experience, for an encounter with the living God. Millennials (the increasing majority of people who do not subscribe to Enlightenment prejudice against spiritual experience) long for spiritual experience through symbols, metaphors, stories, art, music, and practices of prayer that help us listen deeply to God’s voice. Today offers a time of unprecedented opportunity for us … to reconnect with our own heritage of Christian mysticism, to reclaim the central importance of prayer and spiritual experience to the Christian life.
In our own forgotten and rejected DNA we have what it will take to reconnect us with the apostolic power of God in mission. It is time for a new generation of leaders to come forth, new John Wesleys and Phoebe Palmers, who are filled with the fire of the Holy Spirit and who, like Paul, surrender their own traditions to the greater tradition of God making all things new.
AT THE DEEPEST LEVELS, what takes place during the Holy Meal? What life-transforming dynamic occurs when your congregation celebrates the Lord’s Supper? Perhaps we can helpfully imagine the Eucharist as spending time in “sorrow’s kitchen.”
The Eucharist is sorrow’s kitchen, not only as sharing in eating the Paschal meal, which is an anamnesis of the dying and rising of Christ, but as sharing in the abiguity and struggle of the world as it reflects the dying and rising of Christ. In sorrow’s kitchen we mix the ingredients of our passage from death to life. We take, bless, break, and give the bread that is moistened with the world’s tears, including our own. We add the flour of grain crushed and pulverized by the millstone of oppression, grief, and neglect. In other words, grateful celebration of the Eucharist finds a way to include and declare truthfully that life hurts. Passage from death to life, from sin to love, from living in the dark to living in the light, is painful. …
The Eucharist is “sorrow’s kitchen” because it is where death and life meet each week. Here we partake of the realities of sickness, death, evil’s bashing of the poor and marginalized, our complicity with wrong and harm (confession and pardon), and our own suffering and lament of injustice. We can do so because we proclaim Easter’s faith: “Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and on those in the tombs bestowing life!”
PRAISE TO YOU, my God and Creator!
Your creativity is matched by your compassion!
Today is a new day in the life of creation.
Let me see and hear,
taste, touch, and smell
the thrill of your grace
the pulse of the Spirit
in and through all creation.
IN THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT, Jesus taught his disciples to “go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret.”I also know that I can “pray without ceasing” and realize God’s presence wherever i am without being lost in my illusions. By entering the narrow gate of a disciplined life of prayer, I discover the true meaning of life in the later years.
Go to a quiet place and spend 15 minutes in prayer, as you meditate on these words:
Be still and know that I am God
Be still and know
MOMENTS OF SACRED discernment and mystical clarity come in just that way: moments. The recognition of holy presence in morsels of bread and sips of wine or juice are fleeting because they set us back on the road nourished with the news and hope of resurrection, however hidden that news or distant that hope may seem at this juncture. Worship is not our permanent domicile; it is our departure gate.
MARY’S ENCOUNTER with the risen Jesus on that first Easter morning shows how his resurrection can give birth to a living hope in our lives, a living hope that our pools of tears will actually become opportunities for transformation and growth, a living hope that reminds us that at the heart of all things stands a resurrection love that will never let us go.
HISTORY IS FAR TOO HARSH for faith lightly held. History is far too real for faith to rest content in blissful denial. Faith requires more than naiveté. …
Our hope resides in a covenant grounded in God’s grace. God’s promises serve not as escape pods from history but as the means for living faithfully within it. … We do not trust in the times but in God who is our hope.