Archives for the month of: January, 2014

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It seems that our ancestors the primates taught us how to get along in families and extended families.  But when our ancient ancestors learned to live together in thriving metropolises, that was really a watershed mark.  Ancient Corinth was such a place.  Humans have always thrived when they have learned to cooperate and collaborate with other humans.  The temptation is always to fear the other and to assume that their very difference is a threat.  But people and groups that decide to stay isolated seem more likely to decline rather than thrive.

Corinth

Archeologists tell us that ancient Corinth was a thriving metropolis, a complex organization of many people working together and sharing prosperity.  They were a part of sophisticated trade routes that allowed them to buy and sell with a far flung network.  Eventually they had the courage and confidence to launch out onto the scary sea in search of more connection.

But there appears to have been a kind of ceiling to their consciousness when it came to cooperation and collaboration.  When they came across other large complex groups that were similar to themselves, it was as if they reverted to the more unevolved place of fear and mistrust.  They made war as a way to get what they wanted from these groups.  And they succeeded in dominating for a long time, enjoying their spoils.

As it happened, this city that understood unity and yet still had a tendency to choose domination as a way to security was itself conquered by the Romans.  Enter Paul in the first century, founding a community of Christians.  This church was made up of Greeks, Romans, and Jews.  There were men and women, rich and poor, slave and free.  This diverse group struggled with issues of unity, of cooperation and collaboration and was always tempted to choose domination-of-the-other as the way toward unity.  There were different traditions about worship, about sexual behavior, about social and economic interactions, about education; each of these “issues” show up in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians that we read from this evening.  Paul makes it very clear this evening that functional unity, and indeed love, is the bar for the future of humanity; the church is called to live in this future now.

The Church

The history of the Christian Church is a history of both a tendency to connect and a tendency to dominate—right alongside each other.  We have awesome historical examples of inspiring unity and cooperation and at the same time horrific examples of violent torture and killing over differences. It has always been easier to excommunicate than to communicate.  To say, “You’re a heretic!” than to say “You’re heard.”  In the midst of this historical wavering, Paul’s voice is like a tuning fork. 

Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose. (1 Cor. 1:10)

True Unity

When Paul says “in the same mind” in the quote above, we know he doesn’t mean that everyone should think alike.  The mind of Christ is one of Paul’s favorite focuses.  Paul means a part of Christ’s inner self that is deeper than his thoughts, that underlies his thoughts. 

Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,

who, though he was in the form of God,

   did not regard equality with God

   as something to be exploited,

but emptied himself, [emphasis mine]

   taking the form of a slave,

   being born in human likeness.

And being found in human form,

   he humbled himself

   and became obedient to the point of death—

   even death on a cross.  (Philippians 2.5-30)

The Rosetta Stone of relationships is that people want to be understood more than they want to be agreed with.  We understand others by focusing on them instead of ourselves.  There is a “emptying of self” that takes place so that I can “stand in the other person’s shoes.”  Everyone on some level knows that being able to do this is the mark of a good person.  When people are pouring over options for prayer cards for a funeral service they inevitable pick the prayer often attributed[i] to St. Francis of Assissi, our co-patron:

O Divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek…

To be understood as to understand;

To be loved as to love.

When in tonight’s reading (vs. 18) Paul says, “For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God,” he is talking about this emptying that we are all called to imitate.  On the high seas of love, this emptying allows us to either perish or be saved.

For a community to live anywhere near this ideal is to live in unity as each member tries to understand the other.  Once we understand each other’s unique perspective, we can find the way forward in love in a way that works for everyone. 

St. Stan’s

For about 125 years, St. Stan’s has been practicing a kind of common life where everyone has a voice.  They chose the way of communication and of hearing each other.  Their “unity” did not come from “obeying the same person” as if they were the Roman army.  Their unity came from paying attention to each other and collaborating together.  [Now I turn my attention specifically to our visitors from St. Stan’s.]  You have been doing this for 125 years.  We want to be just like you.  You are our heroes.  This is the kind of church we want to be a part of.  This is the kind of church Paul founded and nurtured in Corinth. 

Sts. Clare & Francis/ECC

We belong to a group of parishes that decided not to call ourselves a “church.”  Of course we are a church; but we wanted to avoid the connotation of yet another big corporate power structure that is primarily institutional and top down.  We call ourselves a Communion because communion is what we want to be about.  We want to take the experience of a thriving local community and not assume that at the next level of grouping there has to be war.  We want to break through that “ceiling of consciousness” that stops some from envisioning wider and wider circles of collaboration and unity.  We would like to build a strong partnership with you.   And we would be thrilled if you became a part of the Ecumenical Catholic Communion.

Differences

There may be small differences in the way we celebrate the Eucharist.  For example, we like to stand around the altar table during the Eucharistic Prayer; we prefer inclusive language; and we borrow a great phrase from Paul to say right before we receive communion:

“We, though many, are one body, for we all share in the one bread and in the one cup.”  See 1 Corinthians 10:17

It might be clear that unity is a major focus for us.  There may be small differences but both of us celebrate the same Eucharist.

Unity

And our unity is much deeper than these small differences.  As Christians we share a very deep, trifold common core, do we not?

  1. Don’t you sense a great Mystery that is throbbing just beneath the surface of everything and aren’t you at least tempted to surrender yourself to this One who is so profound that the Hebrews would not even utter the name of this One?  This Mystery grounds our vision of selflessness.
  2. Don’t you want to engage with the mystery of other persons to greater and greater levels of Communion?  Don’t you have a vision of humanity as a whole being in Communion?  This is the Reign of God that grows in you like a seed.
  3. When you witness the suffering of the world, don’t you sense a call to run toward that suffering rather than run away from it?  This is the God of the Exodus coming alive in God’s people, sharing God’s heart with those who are God’s daughters and sons.

We want our future to be your future.  Amen?

Third Sunday of the Year/ St. Stan’s Day
January 25, 2014
Isaiah 8:23 – 9:3
1 Corinthians 1:10-13, 17 (focus text)
Matthew 4:12-23
Homily by Frank Krebs


[i] Scholars do not believe that St. Francis wrote this; however it is easy to see why so many people thought he did.  It captures the heart of this “emptying out” that Paul spoke about and that Francis lived.

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Let’s start with a trivia question.  The category is movies.  What recent movie made famous the simple phrase “I See You?”  If you guessed Avatar you were right.  The movie set off lots of debate in the theological blogs with its religious imagery, but this famous quote about how the Na’vi people sometimes greeted each other stuck a deep cord with many.  When they said “I See You” they meant they see beyond the physical to someone’s essence, to their spirit.

Last week God said to Jesus, “I See You” when Jesus heard those wonderful words “You are my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased.” Tonight we have another example which may be even more remarkable.  Another human being, wrapped in his own history, bias, culture and personality looks at another human being and says –  I See You, “Behold the Lamb of God!” Many people knew Jesus as he entered the 30th year of his thus far uneventful life, but John the Baptist really saw Jesus.  It is this ability to see another and be seen that we explore tonight.

“Behold the Child of God”

Recognition is a powerful spiritual tool, often symbolized in Scripture by a change in name.  God “saw” Abram’s faith and named him Abraham.  Jesus saw a sure foundation in a weak and wobbly Cephas and called him Peter.  Saul meets Jesus on the road and becomes Paul.  The early church community sees in Joseph a man who can mediate between Jew and Gentile and they rename him “Barnabas, Son of Encouragement.”

I hope every one of you have had a John the Baptist in your life, someone who has said “I see you, as you really are.” I suspect grandparents are particularly good at seeing.  Thomas Merton is famous for explaining that as we grow up we learn to create and put on masks to survive.  It is the John the Baptists in our lives who see beneath the mask and say “Behold, the Child of God!”  I am sure everyone here at one time or another felt inspired to tell a child, a struggling young adult, a friend or even an acquaintance that “I See You.” You changed a life when you did.

The church at its best as had a ministry of renaming whole groups of people who were sent to the margins by the culture.  Throughout various times and places women were treated as property or worse, but within some Christian communities they were equal sisters.  There were times and places where slavery was the norm, but within the safety of the community slaves were renamed brothers and sisters.  At time the church was not in a position to change the culture, but they could create their own inclusive world.  There continue to be times and places where people are treated by the culture as unclean but in the community they were “seen” as children of God.

A Ministry of Recognition

I believe this particular community of faith has a gift of saying “I See You.” It comes from our commitment of inclusivity to those marginalized by the tradition.  This came home to me early in our history when Renee and Judy celebrated 25 years together.  They asked the community to do something for them they have never received from a faith community before – to really See Them as a couple through a blessing at the end of mass.  Their beloved faith tradition of their youth would not see them, their State would not recognize them.  That evening Jessica led us in prayer as Renee and Judy together in front of this faith community that raised its collective hand in blessing over their relationship, their union.  No more hiding, no more pretending.  We were saying “We See You Renee and Judy” as we prayed and many of us cried.

Many more examples could be mentioned, but the message tonight is to make this a daily gift.  People here tonight may have lost a job or had a bad doctor’s visit and we get to say to them “We See You.” Others may be so into their roles as worker, parent, employee etc., that they think they are their roles.  To them we say “We See You.” As we render acts of service individually and as a community let’s make sure we are “seeing” the people we serve.  While John the Baptist saw a dove from heaven come down on Jesus we see that “diamond of light” given to each of us that came from God and is returning to God.

The theme song of Avatar has a profound line in the chorus that is repeated over and over – “I see me through your eyes.” When we really see another we call into being what we see! Every time we gather we call into being a more inclusive world.  Every time we really see another we help call into being that person’s true self.  I expect being seen by his Father and by John the Baptist helped Jesus see himself.

May this Eucharist help us “Be Seen” and help us say “I See You” to someone this week.

Amen

George von Stamwitz

Sts. Clare & Francis Ecumenical Catholic Community
Liturgy for the 2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time
Saturday Evening, January 18, 2014
Focus text – John 1:29-34 (John the Baptist with Jesus)

Photo from rozsantos.blogspot.com

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So what are we to make of this man wrestling with his identity?  He sets out on his life’s journey, like you or me, not knowing all the twists and turns that it may take.  He wonders how to be grounded, how to have the certitude he needs to walk confidently into unexplored parts of life’s woods.  When I feel disorientated or unmoored, drifting but not knowing where, approaching an overwhelming number of threats and disappointments, not knowing how to settle my mind…I just want to be stilled.  I want calm.  I want to know that at some fundamental level it’s going to be alright.  This is what comes to my mind as I contemplate this ancient feast, the Baptism of Jesus.  What meaning might there be in this ancient story? 

How Jesus’ People Experienced God

Jesus grew up in a rich spiritual tradition that informed his understanding of these human desires.  He learned to feel grounded.  A tree is grounded, that is, it takes its sense of place and its ability to grow and flourish from the fact that it is planted in something solid.  This earth is not like concrete of course, just something to hold up the tree.   It is a life-giving, organic system of life that nourishes the tree and that also draws from the tree.  There is a mutual exchange of life between the tree and the rich earth.   As elements of the tree and the earth pass back and forth between each other, it is not always clear where the boundaries are between the tree and the earth.  Without the connection to the earth, the tree would stop thriving.  We each have a need inside to be grounded in something that sustains us. 

Jesus Shared This Understanding

Jesus, standing in the Jordan, had a revelation.  It just came to him…that he was grounded in a living Mystery that kept pumping life into him as sure as his next breath or heartbeat.  This “pumping of life” was indistinguishable from the sense that this Mystery loved him, the Other is experienced as sheer gift. 

What is Goodness?

The Hebrews who raised Jesus did not think of goodness as a set of standards to be met.  They thought of goodness as the relationship they had with the Living One that grounded all of their thriving.  Jesus felt very tenderly, we know, toward this reality that he was grounded in.  Perhaps an image will help spell this out.  Imagine yourself enjoying the woods, perhaps fishing or hiking on a beautiful day, or perhaps looking up at stars at night.  Imagine that you become deeply touched by the beauty and the stillness and the utter awesomeness of all of the life in front of you.  Today your cares are far away and you are simply present to this “force of nature” which is in fact simply nature or reality and the majestic Grounding that permeates it.  And you are so touched by the closeness you feel to this beauty that you find yourself saying, “Dada” or “Mommy” or some similar attempt at speech that like a baby you simply speak impulsively hoping that the sound begins to shape the groundedness and that you are feeling.  I propose that this is how we think of Jesus’ preference for calling the Living One with the tender parental word, “Abba.”  He certainly was not thinking of his God as an old man in the sky; that was the miscreation of a later age.  Jesus was aware, we must presume, of what a million mystics have experienced, namely that he is grounded in something awesome and tender, empowering and loving.  “This is my child, I love him,” the inner voice said.

A Continual Source

We are told that from that day forward Jesus acted with a certain authority and power.  It may be like that for you or me—a major one time life experience.  Or it might be like a continual returning to the Source to hear the inner voice again and to be empowered to continue into the unknown.  Or, as with Jesus, it may be a combination of both.  We can walk into the woods knowing that we are grounded.  It’s an assurance, and it’s also like a power-source that we can tap into at any moment.  The Living One, in whom we are grounded, can do in us “infinitely more than we can ask or imagine.” (Ephesians 3:20)

Living on a Prayer

Call this “living on a prayer” if you want.  It’s a powerful grounding, a true grounding.  And the only thing more wonderful than living on a prayer is living on a prayer…together in relationship with another and in community.  And then that ultimately opens us up to be in solidarity with the poor of the world who live on a prayer every day of their lives.

Baptism of Christ
Sts. Clare & Francis
January 11, 2014
Isaiah 42:1-4, 6-7
Acts 10:34-38
Matthew 3:13-17

Homily by Frank Krebs

Photo by Mary J.I. on flickr.com

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We consider this evening some of the most familiar words in religious literature, probably because every elementary school in the West has a Christmas play every year.  Although we might be numb to these words, I can assure you the story struck the first readers in a very fresh and challenging way.  Matthew is writing to Jewish believers, yet the very first people to “get” who Jesus really was were not Jewish.  The Magi were not like Protestants are to Catholics or Jews are to Christians.  The Magi were way out on the margins with a totally different approach to God.  They were the last folks who should be able to “get” the good news.  But they did.

In Matthew’s day the story had a lot of punch in that Matthew’s Jewish/Christian community was being forced out of the synagogue and into greater contact with Gentile Christians.  They were being warned in this text not to be like the Jewish leaders and scholars in the story who knew the right answer to the religious question, but did not join the Magi in the search for an encounter with God.  Let’s see if the story still has punch today as we search for ourselves in the story.

Disdain, Fear or Laziness?

Did it strike you as odd how the Jewish faith community responds to the Magi?  The Magi have incredible news and the whole community is disturbed.  They have a big bible study to see where the Messiah is to be born.  They conclude it is Bethlehem, which fits with the Magi’s story and the star in the sky.  Bethlehem is only 5.5 miles from Jerusalem but NOBODY GOES!  The Magi have travelled hundreds of miles for this encounter and the religious elite would not even go to the suburbs.  They basically tell the Magi go off on their own and let them know if they find anything!

Where does this lack of energy come from?  Perhaps they had disdain for the pagan Magi and did not want to believe them.  Perhaps they did not want their static little world disrupted.  Whatever the source, this lack of energy and curiosity is still with the church.  Four big examples jump to mind in just the last few decades:

1)         Magi came from the South speaking Spanish about Liberation Theology claiming God was encountered in the very act of liberation.  God is grieved when any of God’s children are robbed of dignity.  The institutional churches listened and had respectful bible studies.  A few called them Marxists, but most just sent them on their way and saying call us if you find something;

2)         Magi from the East came talking about seeing Buddha in Jesus.  They reminded us that Jesus that said the “Kingdom of God is within you,” and challenged us to free ourselves from this fearful, moralistic God of black and white and saved and unsaved.  They exclaimed “You don’t have to earn it, it is already given within.”  Again books were written, conferences held but the structure of the religious establishment was not changed;

3)         Magi from astronomy told the Christian church that the universe is not a clock winding down with unchangeable rules.  Rather the universe is still being created and it is expanding at a greater rate.  They asked who is God of this kind of universe that is still in process?  The gospel is not primarily a rescue story, rather it is an ongoing creation story.  The theology schools got into it but the institutional churches are saying “Good luck with that.”

4)         Magi from the world of quantum physics came to the Christian church saying something incredible – at the smallest of levels, consciousness changes how matter behaves.  These magi wondered if it is God’s consciousness of us that inspires us, they wonder if every prayer is an expression of consciousness that affects matter, they wonder if every conversation engaged in with true consciousness changes the participants?  Again, a few books are written, conferences held but the people running the religious show basically said let us know if you find anything.

Embracing Magi Energy

Of course I am exaggerating and simplifying here, and institutions by nature move slowly, but I think this text still lives.  Communities of faith will always be tempted to “stay put” through distrust of the messenger or fear of change.  However, we here must be particularly vigilant.  Stamped into our young DNA is a core belief that the Word can come from anywhere and anyone.  The word “ecumenical” in our name, and in the name of our Communion, tells the world that we want to be a people that scan the horizon for magi and give reverence to their testimony.  We want to follow modern magi to Christ in the world and be part of ongoing creation.  There will be some dead ends and we will make some mistakes, but if we stick with it we will evolve.

We cannot leave this text without also asking the mystical question: am I, are you, a magi for someone, for this community?  We may feel on the margins, that our input does not matter, but indeed we may have the word for that day.   Conversely, where are the Magi in my spiritual journey?  Are there voices that have touched my heart that I have not listened deeply to?  Are there spiritual leads I have not followed up?  Are there voices I discount because they come from the margins?  Am I giving my spontaneous contemplative experiences proper attention?

May this Eucharist inspire us to not miss out, inspire us to go with the magi in our lives to Bethlehem.  May we as a people live out the promise of our name and look expectantly to the margins.

Amen

George von Stamwitz

Homily – Voices From the Margins
Sts. Clare & Francis Ecumenical Catholic Community
Liturgy for the Feast of the Epiphany
Saturday Evening, January 5, 2013
Focus text: Matthew 2:1-12 (the journey of the Magi)

Photo by Victoria Pickering on flickr.com

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I am in a small faith sharing group that rotates the facilitator role every month.  A few months ago the facilitator that week gave us advanced notice that the topic was fear – he asked that each of us come to the group prepared to talk about something we were afraid of.  For me that was easy – I was now afraid to go to small group!

As much as I would like to avoid it, today’s gospel compels us to talk about fear – not fear of goblins or heights, but fear of the very fragile life of God born in us.  Last weekend we saw how Joseph evolved as he embraced the unimaginable mystery life gave him in a fear-evoking pregnancy.  Tonight we see how Herod seeks to snuff out unimaginable mystery and cut off those edges life brought to him because of fear of an infant.  Both energies exist in us, so let’s bring them to light this evening as we worship together.

Herod Energy

We are just a couple of days from “Silent Night, Holy Night, All is Calm, All is Bright,” but now our Holy Family is on the run from a ruler dominated by fear.  Though family connections Rome installed Herod as ruler of Judea at the age of 25, but he had no political clout in Rome.  He ruled for 37 years and he was near the end of his life when Jesus arrived.  He was not Jewish but he claimed his father had adopted the faith.  Nobody in Judea believed him.  He was very insecure, but a great administrator, great at gathering taxes and a master builder.  For example, he built the famous Masada fortress that stands today and he rebuilt the Temple in Jerusalem.  He was an insecure man hiding behind a mask, and when Reality showed up he wanted to destroy Him.

The mystics tell us that we all wear masks, we all want to build monuments to ourselves.  The fragile life of God living inside each one of us exposes these masks, makes them itch and feel uncomfortable.  There is a part of us that fears this fragile life.

If you doubt some form of Herod energy lurks within, read the Sermon on the Mount.  The clear authenticity of these words give rise to fear.  We read about forgiveness, but part of us want to say some things that happen to us are unforgivable.  We read about radical generosity, but part of us wants to say I deserve everything I have earned and nobody has a claim to it.  Part of us gets really afraid when we hear about loving our enemies.  Part of us wants to pull the ladder up so immigrants that do not look like us have to go home.  Part of us objects when we read about going to the margins because we want to go to the top.  Part of us wants to send the fragile Christ life quietly away.

Everything Belongs

Kathleen Norris has a section about Herod in her book “Amazing Grace” that is widely quoted.  She argues what makes Herod awful is not the existence of his fear, rather it is the repression of his fear.  His fear was unacknowledged for decades and thus, erupted in destructive ways.  Once we become aware of Herod energy and can identify it.  Kathleen says if we know where our “inner Herod” is we can tell our “inner wise men” to not go back to Herod, to go home another way.

Richard Rohr makes a similar point in his book about a contemplative way of life called “Everything Belongs.” Contemplative do not reject parts of themselves, they do not pretend you can separate wheat from chaff.  They take it all in with good attention, both Joseph and Herod.  They pay attention to the part of us that embraces the edges of life and the part that runs from the edges.  Richard says “we need not give emotional food to our fears.  We don’t have to shame ourselves for having these fears.  Simply ask them what are you trying to teach me?”  (Page 143).

Like the Christmas story, the Life of God comes to us fragile and vulnerable. In preparing these readings the last two weeks I felt a profound connection to Joseph and his choices when facing this fragile Life.  He could have sent this Life away quietly to protect his life, and many would have applauded him.  Or he could create a safe place for this Life to grow and mature and face the adventure this choice would bring.  These are the choices we face every day as God brings edges to us on which to grow.  May this Eucharist bring us awareness of all these energies within us that we might choose well.

As I ponder my reaction to this daily choice, being in a community like ours makes more and more sense to me.  Without your support and example I know I would make different choices and more often send the fragile nudges of God away quietly.  Let’s make 2014 a year where we more often choose the adventure of making a nurturing home within for the infant Christ.

Amen

George von Stamwitz

Sts. Clare & Francis Ecumenical Catholic Community

Liturgy for the Feast of the Holy Family

Saturday evening, December 29,2013

Focus text – Matthew 2:13-23

 

Photo by Waiting For The Word on flickr.com

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Perhaps something happened in your life, your relationship, or your community and a feeling of dread fell over you.  Maybe you were even depressed for a period of time.  Did you then at some point later all of a sudden become aware of a kind of strength rising up within you?  There is a verb in Latin that names this “strength rising up,” e.g., when grass that has been beaten down by a storm manages to rise back up again.  The word is resilire.  It is where we get the English word resilience.  Because we are putting words on a basic human experience that is very profound, it wouldn’t surprise you that we have other words for this reality.  We might call it hope.  We might call it a kind of empowering force like a wind against our sails.  That’s where I want to focus on this Christmas night—this strength rising up, this resilience, this hope, this empowering force that enables us to move forward, and this birthing of new life that is always going on inside of us.  

What’s a Hermeneutic?

Put that on hold for a moment while we talk about this fancy word, hermeneutic.   This is not a word we use much in ordinary speech.  Hermeneutics is the science of interpretation.  Scholars sometimes use the word hermeneutic to describe a principle by which we interpret things.  The reason this is important to look at is that our insides are determining how we are reading texts and reading reality.  I tend to read texts and even “read” my life itself according to interpretation tendencies I have.  It is better if we are consciously choosing a hermeneutic. 

Tonight I’m proposing a “hermeneutic of Christmas.”  I believe that if we get in touch with “this strength rising up, this resilience, this hope, this empowering force that enables us to move forward, this birthing that is always going on inside of us,” then we will tend to interpret things differently and more in accord with our deepest understandings of life.   This hermeneutic of Christmas allows us to see possibilities that we may not have been able to see. 

Why should we trust this hope or this resilience to be the main way we interpret life?  What if there really is no reason to hope?  The answer is that we can trust our experience.  This thing we call hope is not an intellectual concept.  It is a basic human experience of how our lives actually are.  Let me explain.

What’s Going on in There?

If you meditate you know that when you get down to the deepest layer of yourself, you find the source of what we have been talking about.  You find a kind of birth going on, a kind of process that you have no control over, a life process that is striving to live and to thrive.  The mystics of the Church have named this “gift” or “grace” as an experience of how we are connected to God our source.  And like a color spectrum, it is difficult to see where God ends and we begin and where we end and God begins.  It is in this area that we know that our life is not our own; we are borrowing it; our being is totally dependent on “Being” itself. 

Interpreting My Read on Life

This is the Christmas experience; and it can be the Christmas hermeneutic , i.e., the interpretation principle through which we look at all that is going on around us.  Life is trying to happen.  Life is trying to thrive.  A community (or relationship, or person) can use this Christmas hermeneutic to morph the meaning of what is happening in the direction of more life.  My community is struggling with this or that.  Our relationship is at this kind of impasse.  My life seems in the dumpster at the moment.  The Christmas hermeneutic allows us to interpret things differently and to see the life-giving possibilities in front of us. 

Our lives, our relationships, our community depends on this Christmas hermeneutic.  Through this lens we read situations differently.  A difficult struggle appears differently from the point of view of the emerging strength I notice within me.   Something Godly is being born into the world. 

Christmas 2013
Sts. Clare & Francis
IS 9:1-6

TI 2:11-14

LK 2:1-14
Homily by Frank Krebs

Photo by ecololo on Flickr.com