July/August -- 2021
As we go forward into summer, big decisions lie ahead of us. Barring a change of heart by Holy Trinity to reduce the monthly rent and a willingness to offer us a long-term lease, we face either a new home in the Academy building of SFAC or a new home at SHARC. These two options have brought forward different strong opinions. Simultaneously, as SCF has reopened, we are aware of those who are no longer with us. Our family conversations on June 30, July 8, and July 15 are to help us come back together and share what presses in our hearts: hope, dreams, fears, as well as owning the strengths of our past.
Too often strong opinions can divide a community. That division is what disturbs me. Listen to the words of Dr. Fred Craddock who always seems to have the healing words for me when I need to hear them. This comes from his book A Taste of Milk and Honey.
“Have you noticed how many good people there are? I mean really good people? I don’t have a better word to describe them: they are fundamentally good. Theirs is character you can trust. They do not take what is not theirs; they share what is. When they say Yes, they mean Yes, and you don’t have to keep reminding them that they said Yes. They will postpone or even abandon their own plans because your need is urgent. They are generous, whether they have much or little. They tell the truth, but are not judgmental. They are not intrusive, but they are at your door when you thought no one knew you were at the end of your rope. You can depend on them. They never intend to harm. They do not need an audience before doing what is right. They mind their own business, which includes standing up for the unjustly treated. They are compassionate, but they do not use your misfortunes to display their compassion. They don’t even know how to be cruel. To be sure, not all have the most becoming personalities and, if left to you, a few changes would be made: take the cap off in the house; use a fork instead of a spoon; don’t talk so loud; lose the profanity; clean up the jokes; help a bit more with the kids and the grandkids; don’t go to work so early the rest of us feel guilty; vote for the right candidate for a change. But in the long run, I can tolerate the bad habit or the prickly personality because these are good people; I mean really good people.
I add to my list of good people every day.
You’re on it, by the way.”
You are good people, each and every one of you, so how can we honor our differences of opinion while staying together as one family? I think we can lean into the Wisdom tradition that teaches creative life does not just ascend to a better place, but also deepens to a more solid ground. The Wisdom tradition, the language of the Mystics, teaches that within every human breast are two mystic hearts, one folded neatly inside the other.
The outer heart loves and desires the beauties of our world. This outer heart rejoices with new discoveries that will, indeed, lessen pain and make life easier. As the outer heart experiences these beauties, it rejoices and seems to take flight. When it loses these beauties, it descends heavily into grief and lamentation.
The inner heart, folded inside the outer heart, looks inward and not outward. Instead of upward, it travels downward into the mystery of the soul. Its gaze fastens on the ground floor, on the bedrock of the soul where there is no gaining and there is no losing. There is simply be-ing...a foundational be-ing where the pronouns we, they, you and I are exchanged for the noun One. This place of be-ing in One is a vast, open, mysterious, deathless land in which the veil between the seen and the unseen is whisper thin.
Some people seem to be in quicker touch with their inner heart and, because of that, are given second sight. They see clearly this “blade of singularity” that cuts through dark bias and dull confusion to let the Light of Christ shine through. Light calls to Light.
As we move through summer, my prayer is that we may be centered on be-ing in One. Yes, we will hold different opinions, but not so rigid as to break the family.
May we be face-to-face, and seek the immeasurable Light, who is Jesus Christ, our Lord, who claims us all as One, his own.