Not boring God with prayer

Okay, I admit it, this title is terribly tongue-in-cheek. I don’t actually think we can bore God, though I think our prayers can take on a blandness that could bore me to tears if I were God (thankfully I am not God and we don’t need to worry about this).

(For the full audio version of this sermon, click here.)

This week we read the scripture about Jesus teaching the disciples how to pray. Now, that is all well and good, but I wish he’d taught them how to make all of life a prayer instead of giving them something that has become the epitome of Christian rote prayer. It’s easy to say the same thing over and over again. It’s safe to believe that we’ve got the right words because, well, they came from Jesus. But there is so much more.

Matthew Fox says that the stuff of prayer is life itself. Every moment, every experience, no matter how exciting, emotional or mundane is a potential time for prayer. How? It is simple, yet not easy. Awareness of the Divine. That is all it takes for any moment to be sacred and a prayer. For example, I took my kids camping to the Rocky Mountains two weeks ago. After a few hikes it became obvious to me that at least one of them was hiking to get it over with. They wanted to get to the end of the trail, see what there was to see and move on. Not that they didn’t appreciate the beauty at all, but they didn’t really want to take the time to soak it in. I wanted to take the time to feel the energy of the mountain, the stream and the trees, to recognize the sacred presence in that place and to drink it in. I wanted my hike to be a prayer.

Coloring your life with prayer simply means recognizing as many moments as possible as sacred moments. The Divine is present at all times, but we don’t bring that to our consciousness nearly enough. And that is all it takes for a connection with the Ground of our Being. We can bring prayer to our work, our conversations, our chores, our errands, our love-making, our meals simply by our awareness that God is present in us, in all those around us, in the earth, in the air we breathe, everywhere.

Peace,

Kaye

Participating in our own healing

Stories of healing from Scripture always provide a challenge to the preacher. Too often I think people have been set up to believe that if they just have enough faith, if they are devout enough, if they do all the right things in their lives, then they will be healed of whatever ails them. I’m afraid that if we look around, we realize that it just isn’t that easy.

(For the full audio version of this sermon, click here.)

I will be the first to admit that I know of no definitive answer to the issues of healing. Each person’s healing is an individual journey that can’t be given a generic prescription for success. However, there are a few things that I believe to be true (though I admit the possibility of being wrong).

First, I believe that there is a difference between being healed and being cured. Our healing may not look like the cure we want, but at a soul level it may be much more important. Perhaps the healing that comes is inside, not outside. Perhaps we learn how to live different physically, yet with peace and harmony inside. Or perhaps the healing is relational instead of physical. Perhaps we experience the divine in a new, more powerful way that heals old images of the divine, or brings us to a different wholeness.

I firmly believe that there is a Mind-Body-Spirit connection within us that our medical professionals typically do not address. If we are experiencing issues in one area, it will have repercussions in the others. We have specialists in each area (medical doctors, mental health professionals and a variety of spiritual healers), but few who pull them together and are able to address the totality of a person. This means that we need to pay attention to all the pieces of ourselves and how they are integrated. How does a stressful working situation manifest itself in our bodies? How does spiritual abuse manifest itself in our emotional well-being? And so forth.

Also, it seems that we have lost the ability to see illness and death as part of our spiritual journeys. We often put value judgments on them as good and bad (which, I grant you, is really hard not to do) instead of just trying to learn and grow through the experiences. This requires a great deal of self-awareness, self-reflection and openness to looking at the situations of our lives from different perspectives.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we need to participate in our own healing. We can’t simply expect a pill or a prayer or a therapy session to magically fix us. We need to take care of ourselves through eating well, exercise, time to be with the Divine (in whatever way that looks for you), fun and laughter, etc. We can’t ignore our issues, but we need to accept them and work with the regular and alternative health professionals to determine what is wrong and what we can do to feel better. It is a process that usually doesn’t have short cuts or easy fixes. But approaching our own health holistically brings about a beautiful balance to our lives.

 

We’ve got PRIDE!

Allow me to take a moment of personal privilege to thank all of the Sacred Journeys folks who marched in the Racine Pride Parade with me on Sunday. I was deeply moved that so many of you turned out in support of equal rights for LGBT folks and in support of your somewhat nervous pastor who spoke at the end. You have no idea how proud I am of who we are as a community of open-minded Christians.  I didn’t realize how hard it would be for me to speak publicly (outside of our safe space on Sunday mornings) about some of the challenges I’ve faced as well as the invisibility of being LGBT. The scars of those who hurt or betrayed me remain, along with the scars of those who chose to be silent and in their silence spoke loud and clear. As we approach the 4th of July, a holiday to celebrate freedom, it is hard for me to truly celebrate because there are many in this country (and not just the LGBT community) who still do not know true freedom. Freedom is about not living in fear. Fear of who you are, who you love, where your next meal will come from, who will care for you when you get old, or what language you speak. I have hope that one day the voices of justice and love, inclusion and acceptance will win out over the voices of hatred and ignorance. I have hope that one day all will know freedom and peace. ~ Kaye

Kaye speaking at the end.

Our crew walking with pride!

More beautiful people marching with us!

 

 

 

We have such awesome kids!

Our two Marilyns!