Saturday, March 19, 2011

Relay for Life and then some

I’m sitting in the middle of a group o high schoolers as I type this. We’ve gathered in the cool evening to walk around in circles. Yup, Relay for Life has come to Mary Baldwin and the Covenant youth are showing their support.

As we’re gathered, eating pizza and talking over deep thoughts from “why do tootsie pop wrappers have stars” to “what was before God” I ask them a question.

“Why are you here?” The answers: I have a friend, a friend’s parent, a grandparent, an uncle who has cancer. We are here because we know and love people who have faced cancer. We’re here because it’s personal.

“How about the people in Japan?” I ask. “You don’t know them. You probably don’t know anyone who’s been hurt by a tsunami. Do care about them?”

Of course we care, they say.


The answers: Because… because they’re people. They’re God’s children. We have to care. We have to help them. We have to.

Listening to the passion and the compassion from our teenagers moves me. And it convicts me. When and where we can, we have to help. That’s what they say and I’ve seen them walk the walk (literally tonight) just as well as they talk it. How we help can may not seem much – it may just be donating a few dollars and walking around in a circle to raise awareness – but we have to help.

Why do we have to help? As one of the youth said: “If I know about it and I don’t do anything, I’m failing myself as a person.” As we’d say in seminary, “that’ll preach.”

What can you do? If you’re interesting in helping with the situation in Japan, check out the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance website. If you’re interesting in raising money and awareness for cancer research, join the Covenant Relay for Life team in May. If there’s another cause you’d like to help with but don’t know where to start, talk to the Outreach team or John and me.

Not all of us can do everything but together with God’s help we can sure do a lot. Looking around at our teenagers I leaves me no doubt that we will.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Lent, the season of being really confused

Today at the morning Bible study - that space and time where the minister who'll be preaching this upcoming Sunday delves into the texts - we spent about 5 minutes on the Bible and 55 on running theological circles.

Atonement, what sin is, what death is, the unknowable nature of God - yup, all of these made an appearance this morning. Because Lent - this season we're about to enter into - makes us stop and wonder about the tough stuff... at least if we take it seriously.

How can you prepare for the journey into Jerusalem, to the cross, without wondering who it is Jesus died, wondering what our sin we say he died for really is? I can't. I can't take in the costly grace without spending time reflecting on who God is and why God choose to love me, and you, and the people I can't imagine anyone loving.

This is why Lent - along with being that time of preparation - is a time where the big questions are on my mind... and causing some mass confusion. But that's one of the things I love about Lent. I love that I spend time pondering, wondering, imagining all these things about the Divine and ultimately coming to the conclusion that I don't really know anything but that God is God and I am not God. I find myself enjoying Job's whirlwind, marveling at it, even if I'm left with unanswered questions.