Many years ago, long before I ever even considered religious work as a vocation, the rector of our church in Dallas, Fr. Matt, died suddenly of a heart attach at 59 years old. He had supported, encouraged, and cared for our community for 16 years and so his sudden departure was a total and complete devastation for us. Yet, even in this midst of this horrible situation, we were presented with a beautiful gift from G-D. The interim who was placed in our midst by the Diocese, Fr. Larry, not only offered prayers and provided solace but made space for us to grieve and then to move from death to new life. How? By simply practicing what he preached.
Larry+ was big on TRUST in LIFE (what some would call Faith in God). He really believed that “all is well,” and he encouraged us to be open & receptive to Everything as it presented itself to us. I don’t think anyone in our congregation, including the youth and young adults expected to learn a new way of be-ing in the world, but that is exactly what Fr. Larry taught us. He taught us how to begin to live in a new way that transformed the way we perceived and responded to life so that we could enjoy more peace, joy, and love and laughter even while recognizing that tears and sorrows were simply the other side of the same coin.
That was more than 20 years ago, and while on retreat this past week, I was able to consider just how much Fr. Larry’s lesson has evolved within me and my life. Faith in G-D and trust that “all is truly well” is not something we wake up to and take on in its fullest for all times. Rather, it is a developing process of unlearning and relearning through the circumstances and situations of Life. Openness and Receptivity to LIFE is not possible without that Trust, however; trust that somehow and in some way…everything is as it should be. “Everything Belongs” as Richard Rohr has said.
Our life’s journey is a journey into Christ-hood or the Christ within us. I believe this is true for everyone regardless of religion, creed, or color because The Christ is NOT Jesus of Nazareth’s surname, but a Consciousness of which the divine and physical/material are ONE. The Christ is the union of spirit and matter as ONE; a relationship of loving union in which we all get to participate …especially when we are open and receptive to it.
This is an important consideration for the times in which we live when it is easy to feel afraid, angry, despondent, or without hope. Knowing that nothing separates us from the love of G-D in Christ is a powerful antidote to what ails us today. (cf Ro 8: 38-39) We, those of us who are members of the Episcopal branch of the Jesus movement, are challenged to live into this particular knowing with gratitude. I challenge you to begin to live with more freedom; be open and receptive to life as it presents itself…and see what happens!
With Openness, Receptivity, and Love,