Post date: Oct 29, 2021 5:30:53 PM
Dear Middletown Reformed Church Family and Friends,
Blessings of Pentecost joy be with you!
Sometimes a question comes up in our Adult Education that is so good it would be a shame not to share it with the wider community. Such a question did present itself a few weeks ago in our study of Barbara Brown Taylor’s An Altar in the World and I wanted to pass it on for your reflection and encouragement.
Taylor writes that we ask deep questions when we are in pain such as “Why me? Why now? Why this?” But she challenges us to ask these questions when we feel pleasure as well. Have you ever asked those questions about the good things that happen to you? In what ways might this practice of incarnation—of listening to your body when it is in pleasure and in pain—enhance your spiritual life?
Indeed, the cry of “Why me?” is so common when we are suffering, and, of course, such a lament is often needed and called for. One would not want to minimize or ignore another person’s pain. But Taylor’s challenge for us to ask the same question when we feel joy or pleasure is a call for us to have the opportunity to express gratitude. Why . . . why now . . . why this? And perhaps when we do utter that question we will hear the Spirit whisper back,
Because you are loved by God more than you could ask or imagine.
Because you are good enough.
Because you are worthy of life, and life abundant.
Because you are brave, bold, kind, proud, courageous, fierce, strong, determined, inspiring.
You who are called beloved of God come to worship this Reformation Sunday with your church family at 10:30 AM in person or on FaceBook live. Our music is sure to bless your soul with Tim Anderson as our featured soloist. He will be singing “A Simple Song” for our Prelude and “May the Love of the Lord” for our Benediction. The Joyful Noise Adult Choir will sing “On Faith Alone” for our Anthem. And our hymns will be from our new hymnal, Lift Up Your Hearts! I will be preaching from Mark 12.28-34 and my sermon title is By Love Alone. As you are aware, we have resumed congregational singing and since the highly contagious Delta variant of COVID-19 is present in our state everyone must wear a mask for worship and indoor church events. Thank you for your cooperation in loving yourself, your neighbor, and keeping everyone safe and healthy.
This weekend I invite you to the practice of being present to yourself (the practice of wearing skin, as Taylor calls it), and when something good happens, maybe it will be a rather ordinary event or an extraordinary one, ask aloud, “Why me?” And then listen for a holy answer.
In gratitude for the privilege of being your pastor and the holy call of loving you,