Rector’s Note 09-03-20
Dear People of Christ,
Walking home always seems to go faster than walking away, especially when hiking. As Henri and I waded our way out of Aravaipa Canyon, we followed a large heron that moved from tree to tree. Every time it was impressive when those big grey wings swept his large body into the air.
I spent a big part of the sermon on Sunday talking about how dangerous and difficult the journey can be. In truth, I have been really blessed over thousands of miles of hiking to be not just alive, but to have had very few dangerous experiences, though I did sew my own knee closed once east of Tucson.
But, the question remains for many people: If the danger is so present and difficulty so high, why do it?
The answer may vary person to person, but for me it is joy. I love it. I revel in being out in nature, facing life at its most basic and raw with simplicity and good planning. I have seen bears and mountain lions, wild otters and vistas that still quiet the soul before a God larger than I have words for.
Dallas Willard writes in the Spirit of the Disciplines:
Holy delight and joy is the great antidote to despair and is a wellspring of genuine gratitude — the kind that starts at our toes and blasts off from our loins and diaphragm through the top of our head, flinging our arms and our eyes and our voice upward toward our good God. The unabashedly sensual and earthy character of celebration or jubilee is nowhere more clearly portrayed than in the instructions contained in Deuteronomy 14. Here a tithe of goods produced was to be used in a feast before the Lord on a vacation trip to the big city of Jerusalem. If the city was too far for individuals to carry their own produce as provision, the tithe was to be sold “for money,” and the money taken to Jerusalem where — are you ready for this? — “Thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the Lord thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household, and the Levite that is within thy gates” (14:26 – 27).
Sounds like a discipline you can live with, no? Here is our antidote to the fog of COVID and the bog of the Accuser who lives in us, rejoice! Celebrate God’s goodness and revel in the journey of life. Give generously, but also live generously. Laugh and play, for God your Abba has you in his hands, even in the wilderness and yes even in your home.
When you wander out your door, you discover that God is everywhere making new the old creation, and that while we whittle away at our childish evils, he is unleashing Heaven in our midst through us of all people.
If you cannot get out in the physical sense, you can still celebrate. Get on the phone, join us on Zoom, and get your holy party clothes on.
“I have come that you may have life and have it more abundantly.” – Jesus –