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Day 26–I am thankful for hope

November 26, 2013

Often, I am overwhelmed with what I hear in the media-both about the political realm and the religious realm.  The media likes to emphasize the extremes–radicals and reactionaries in politics and religion.  Too often, we hear about Christians not acting in love–Christians that are eager to close the doors on others and keep them from the table.  Politics does the same, whose right and whose wrong, whose in and whose out, whose red and whose blue.  This is all around us all the time and sometimes, it makes me tired.  It makes me cynical.  I tire of the fear mongering by politicians and religious leaders, we should be afraid that we are being persecuted or our values are being attacked or, this is the worse one, that socialists are taking over the country.

I tire.

Then I read things.  I read authors of church leaders of mainstream churches–you know, those that have been around for ages–the Presbyterians, the Episcopalians, the Lutherans.  I hear them preaching love and grace and that everyone may come to God’s table.  All are in fact welcome, it’s not just a Methodist slogan.   The table is for everyone, the sinners and outsiders especially because that’s who Jesus came for–the sick–the poor–the women–the children.  Those that the church ignores and treats as second rate, these are the ones Jesus came for.  It’s not a prosperity gospel, it’s not even a cause and effect.  If we do good for God, God won’t do good things for us.  We’ll be able to see God with us in the bad things that happen. If we pray enough, we won’t necessarily be healed, not all the lame can walk again.  However, God will walk with us as we limp along.

This is what I believe, but some days, it’s hard to remember it when those that feed on fear tell me I am threatened.  I feel myself become cynical about church institutions and I forget.

On days like today though, I am thankful for hope.  I am thankful for the Pope’s words–no, I’m not Catholic, but I appreciate good words when I hear them, no matter the denomination they come from.

The Eucharist, although it is the fullness of sacramental life, is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.

(Pope Francis–quoted  in CNN’s religion blog)

As I read that, I thought of Sara Miles’ words in take this bread.  She says the same thing, the Eucharist-communion-changes us.  It leaves us hungry for more, hungry for more God, hungering and thirsting for righteous, hungering for the bread of life, thirsting for the living water.  When I hear book authors and Popes talking about how the church, the Eucharist is not reserved for the perfect, the saints, I am thankful.  The Eucharist is even for me, as imperfect and grumpy and snarky and petty and judgmental that I can.  That gives me hope.

I am thankful for hope.DSCN1165

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