Saturday, January 23, 2010

Good News?

It has been two weeks since I last posted here, though my blog entries at the St. Edward's blog have been many and varied over that period of time. It has also been nearly two weeks since the massive earthquake in Haiti, where much of the world's, the church's, and my attention has been over these last several days. Refreshingly, we in the Episcopal Church have been diverted from our seeming obsession with sexuality to a much more productive obsession--figuring our what we can do for the people of Haiti and discovering, sometimes for the first time, the things that the Episcopal Church has been up to in Haiti and continues to be up to.

I must say that it is a huge challenge to preach to a congregation like St. Edward's while people are literally dying every second in the streets and crumbled buildings of Haiti. Tomorrow morning I'll get in my hybrid car, drive down a well-paved and well-traveled road for 40 minutes, and arrive at a church in a relatively well off area, in fact just blocks from a very exclusive part of Los Gatos. I will lead worship in a beautiful church building with nice grounds around it, and we'll have coffee and cookies outside the front door (or inside, if it is too cold). At the same time, my fellow Episcopalians in Haiti will have already awakened to yet another day of hardship, wondering where their next meal will come from (or even if they'll have a next meal anytime soon) and simply attempting to survive for the day until they (hopefully) fall into an exhausted sleep. Frankly, anything I could possibly say from the pulpit of a comparatively well-off church seems woefully inadequate!

And yet, as I ponder again the lessons appointed for tomorrow, I also run across the collect appointed for the day:
Give us grace, O Lord, to answer readily the call of our Savior Jesus Christ and proclaim to all people the Good News of his salvation, that we and the whole world may perceive the glory of his marvelous works; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
I'm pretty sure I know what "Good News" and "salvation" look like in the streets of Haiti--people being pulled from rubble, finding friends and family alive, and finding a relatively safe place to sleep, a bit of food and water, and possibly some relief from the mid-80 degree heat and humidity. Nothing more complicated than that: food, shelter, life. What does "the Good News of [Jesus'] salvation" mean to me and to the people entrusted to my spiritual care? What should it mean?

The answer, at least as far as I can tell, is summed up in one word: transformation. For those who literally have nothing, very simple things can be transformational. For those of us who have more, transformation looks a bit more complicated. If you want to know what I say tomorrow about transformation, head on over to the St. Edward's blog on Monday or Tuesday. I should have something more to say then.

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