CELEBRATING GOD'S LOVE FOR ALL PEOPLE

© Broadway United Methodist Church, 3338 N. Broadway St., Chicago, IL 60657

7/21/17

 

    I have struggled to write this final reflection. As my time as Broadway’s student pastor intern comes to a close, I am mindful of all that I didn't accomplish. Projects and goals that I didn't find the time or energy to finish. I have a penchant for recognizing how something could be better, more effective, more coherent, and I can zealously apply it to myself at times. Such as my estranged relationship with balancing one’s spiritual life with all the demands of adulthood. How do we love our neighbors, stand with the oppressed, make dinner, work, pay rent, and care for ourselves? Despite exploring various contours of spiritual practices, my relationship with them remains estranged. I used current events and the reflections on Sunday to root this conversation in reality versus some idealized context. In academia and in the church, we often wrestle with issues in a vacuum. Life is too dynamic for our lesson plans and prayer schedules and our binary understandings of right and wrong, sacred and secular, positive and negative, oppressor and oppressed, self-care and self-indulgent. I wanted to cultivate a space that assisted real humans in the fray of our messy world to experience spiritual practices that resonated enough to keep doing them. This seemed the stumbling block in finding practices that fit into our ever busy lives. Yet, over the course of this little blog, I discovered something else.

 

   Spiritual practice invites you to a deeper experience of yourself, of God, and the world around you. This journey into yourself, into God, brings your daily life into alignment with your spiritual life and disrupts the false dichotomy between the various spaces and roles you inhabit. Beyond balance or time management or relevance, one needs courage. Or at least that's what I need. Courage to let more of myself into the light -- failures, desires, inadequacies, doubts, and criticisms included. Courage to encounter God without the veil of our assumptions. Does God share my disappointment with my shortcomings or the hateful judgments of those that bear God’s image? What if God asks about that dark space in the corner of my heart or asks me to change something in my life? Courage and perhaps trust, not only in God, but also in myself. Trust that I am exactly who I am supposed to be now and that God is taking a risk too. There are so many things I could say about this year at Broadway -- about the Dark Woods and rainbow drenched sanctuaries and the unexpected delight of my hearing my pronouns. But as you can guess, this entry is already late to the presses.

 

 So thank you for your companionship on this journey. I hope you discovered some unexpected gifts along the way and you will continue to be brave and trusting.