Monday, November 26, 2012

Simplifying

Monday, November 26, 2012  -- Week of Proper 29, Year 1

[Go to http://www.missionstclare.com/english/index.html for an online version of the Daily Office including today's scripture readings.]

Today's Readings for the Daily Office (Book of Common Prayer, p. 995)
Psalm 106:1-18 (morning)     //     106:19-48 (evening)
Zechariah 10:1-12
Galatians 1:1-10
Luke 18:15-30

"How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!" (Luke 18:24)

Like a political cartoonist, Jesus draws a picture of an overburdened camel, luggage piled high and hanging off both sides, heavily burdened with its prodigious load, unsuccessfully trying to squeeze through a narrow place because it is unable or unwilling to let go. 

It is saying the obvious to state that ours is a consumer society.  We are surrounded by messages conditioning us to buy more, get more and to satisfy the gods of our culture -- appearance, affluence, achievement.  Yet everything we own in some sense also owns us.  It must be cared for, washed, repaired, protected.  Those cultural voices speak lies to us -- "You are what you wear."  "You are what you earn."  "Your worth depends on your performance."  Heavy burdens.  Demanding gods.

There is another kind of wealth that is more subtly threatening.  It is the burden of possessing an excess of right thinking and right acting.  Religious people can be particularly greedy consumers of right thinking and right acting.  An overemphasis on right thinking produces fundamentalisms of all kinds.  And overemphasis on right acting produces burnout.  And when we extend that to try to make the world "believe as we believe" or "act as we act" without regard for the independent needs of others, we can become terribly oppressive.  Most of us get full of our own ideas and overextended with our own doings.  Most of us are in some way fundamentalist and burned out. 

Most deep truth, most right thinking, is pretty simple -- God is good.  Creation is a wonderful mystery.  Everything is connected.  Healing is possible.  Growth happens.  Greed brings suffering.  But even these truths need to be held gently in the face of the mystery that is Reality Itself.  Truth is more than my concept of truth.  "God is love" means more than my understanding of love.

And anyone who has entered into deep silence or fallen into profound love knows that being is greater than doing, and often not-doing is greater than doing. 

There are ways to let go and to travel lightly.  To live more simply, hold gently, float into life.  When you are not carrying so much, it is easier to go through narrow places.


Lowell
_______________



Audio podcast:  Listen to an audio podcast of the most recent Morning Reflections from today and the past week.  Go to: http://www.stpaulsfay.org/id244.html

About Morning Reflections
"Morning Reflections" is a brief thought about the scripture readings from the Daily Office of Morning and Evening Prayer according to the practice found in the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church.

Morning Prayer begins on p. 80 of the Book of Common Prayer.
Evening Prayer begins on p. 117
An online resource for praying the Daily Office is found at http://www.missionstclare.com/english/index.html

Another form of the office from Phyllis Tickle's "Divine Hours" is available on our partner web site www.ExploreFaith.org at this location

The Mission of St. Paul's Episcopal Church
is to explore and celebrate
God's infinite grace, acceptance, and love.

See our Web site at www.stpaulsfay.org

Our Rule of Life: 
We aspire to...
    worship weekly
    pray daily
    learn constantly
    serve joyfully 
    live generously.

Lowell Grisham, Rector
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Fayetteville, Arkansas

2 Comments:

At 7:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now I get where you were coming from this a.m. - SIMPLIFY!

sophia

 
At 7:20 AM, Blogger Lowell said...

You got me chuckling "Sophia." Yep. Trying to get to a simpler, more responsive place. A #7 on a diet.

Lowell

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home