Welcome to our blog! This is a place to share ideas, thoughts, concerns and joys of our faith journey. I'll be posting sporadically, but hope you will feel free to comment and join in the discussions.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Conversation in Class

I really don't know how the subject turned. We were talking about what the class discussed the week previously, then it somehow or other moved to talking about the gospel lesson and the subject turned yet again to miracles. I have trouble with miracles sometimes. When I was young, I thought of Jesus as a magician. Poof! There went some guy's blindness. Flash! Some lady was healed. And KAZAM! Lazarus came out of the tomb looking for lunch. It was like Jesus was a real live superhero, without the cape. As I grew older, I questioned lots of things. But the miracles of Jesus, not so much. It seemed wrong to question them, to think about them was okay, because they meant something. But the meaning was sometimes kind of garbled or not clear to me. But I didn't question them. I thought that was what faith was, unquestioning.

I'm older now. I still question lots of things. In the course of listening about miracles, I have heard explanations of them. How this could have happened. How that could have been. I still don't know if the people explaining them were trying to prove that Jesus really didn't do them, or if they were seeking to make Jesus less of a magician and more of a person with extra ordinary talents. But the conversation in class was interesting because someone posed the thought that if we can explain away miracles, then didn't we believe that Jesus was resurrected from the dead? That was a conversation killer for sure! Everyone stopped and looked at each other. Is that what it meant to question the miracles? That there could not have been an event that was truly miraculous? For a tiny second I wondered what would happen if I said I didn't believe in the resurrection. I felt my core faith quiver at the thought. It was scary. But it was just for a moment. Because I came back with the idea that miracles are no less miraculous just because someone could explain them. So what if the wine actually was in a mis-marked jar at the wedding? So what if the feeding of the 5000 happened because people shared their food? The surprise of the story is that it was a miracle, not that Jesus did it, but that God intervened in some way to show us something of his self. A particle of God was visible for that small second of divine something or other that happened. And he did it for us. All of us. Not just the wedding guests delighted that the "good stuff" was still available or the growling bellies of the gathered masses. God intervened showing that with God all things are possible from the sublime to the, well, miraculous!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Place Holders

I was at a very busy restaurant recently with four other people. It was the kind of place that you put your order in, then go to a table and the waitstaff brings you your order. It was loud, jammed to the gills with people of all types and sizes and I wondered how we would ever find a place to sit (and hear each other in the din). I volunteered to be the one to find a spot for all five of us and hold the place until the orders were given and the rest would join me.

Because the line was long, I had time to find a good spot and sit and ponder things. It's funny when you have time to just sit and think, the things that come into your mind. I was thinking that I was the "place holder" for the group I was with. It occurred to me that I am frequently a place holder because I'm willing to go quietly into a line or a situation and well, hold a place for someone else. This is not to whine about it. I'm perfectly happy holding a place for someone. Usually us placeholders are not flashy or showy. We don't go about calling attention to the fact that someone is coming for which we are merely creating a vacuum that they will fill. This is what we do.

Of course I became more engrossed in the analogy (as I am wont to do) and decided that in our faith life, we can be placeholders too. We can be the people who come in and set up tables for a dinner. We can be the people who find the balloon vendor for the upcoming church fair, and make sure he'll be there and his price is good (if not free!). They are the ones who help new people find a pew, find their place in a hymnal, or simply show a friendly face smiling back at a fidgety child during the sermon. The placeholders of this world are not the big money makers, sermon givers or fancy dressers. They are the humble, obedient servants that Jesus spoke of from the woman who cleansed Jesus' feet with her hair to the stewards who witnessed the water turned into wine conversion. But the placeholders are as exalted as the ones for whom we hold a place. For our place in the scheme of things is always to hold it for the Lord. We are holding the place, nay, standing in place of the one who comes after us. The one who has power and authority over all things and stands in line to no one person or thing. And in this capacity, we are given the authority to "hold" his place in line. We are called to actively participate in life, reaching and stretching our faith lives for the one who will come after us, the one whose name we carry in our hearts and minds. So that when he comes again, there will be a place at the table for all who have saved a place.