__Scripture Reflection and Communion.__
First Congregational United Church of Christ, Santa Rosa, CA,
Open and Affirming. Sunday, January 29, 2006.
_The Rev. Robert F. Cramer, Eucharistic Minister._
__Struggling to be whole … when we already are:
I feel funny
on my insides
I wish you wus here.
— Maybe if I could help somebody
I’d feel better on the insides
just doing one good thing
for a change —
Help me do it, God.”
[Carl R. Burke included this in _Treat Me Cool, Lord: Prayers of Kids
from City Streets Spoken in Their Own Language_ (Association Press, 1968).]
Jesus would not have been surprised to know a frightened youth trapped in a frightening ghetto could harbor hope like this — not hope for a gift from someone, but something better, an urge to give oneself to others.
Macrina Wiederkehr, for the umpteenth time, probably, thinking about the beatitudes that displayed the childlike faith of the mature teacher, Jesus, offers this:
_Blessed are those who are … emptied of all that doesn’t matter, those for whom the riches of this world just aren’t that important. The reign of heaven is theirs._
_Blessed are those who wear compassion like a garment … for they too shall receive comfort._
_Blessed are the creators of peace, those who build roads that unite
rather than walls that divide, those who bless the world with the
healing power of their presence. They shall be called children of God._
_Blessed are those whose love has been tried, like gold, in the furnace and found to be precious, genuine, and lasting, those who have lived their belief out loud, no matter what the cost or pain._
— I find myself coming to the table this morning still seeking blessing
in the face of grief, from loss, fearing a future over which I have
suddenly found I have much less control than I’d thought.
Ted Loder, in _Guerrillas of Grace: Prayers for the Battle,_ offers me
a pregnant insight. In his beatitudes, Jesus, always finding God
deep within himself and always sharing the vision, gives me a name.
I always thought he was delivering wisdom — uncommon truths —
as a teacher might give a lecture.
But he is seeing the very image of God in me, and he names me!
He calls me “Blessed.”
I have been taught all kinds of names for the man of Galilee
who I thought was totally unique in incarnating the divine. But I
also incarnate some measure of divinity, limited only by what I see.
Jesus encourages me to be who I truly am and he names me.
Loder doesn’t say my name; Jesus does. It is “Blessed.” Says Loder:
by the names I give you,
in the silence
that I may know
who I am,
hear the truth
you have put into me,
trust the love
you have for me,
which you call me to live out
with my sisters and brothers
in your human family.
In _The Things That Make For Peace,_ Barbara A. Gerlach
sees God not only within us, but coming to us:
_It is when we are pushed to the edge of human possibility
by our poverty or our grief, by our thirst for righteousness
or our search for peace, by our suffering or our love
that God meets us … and we experience God’s blessing._
_In these moments, which are our perfection and our peace,
God comes to us as sure as the taste of salt on our tongues._
So be it. __Amen.__