09 June 2008

What Shall I Return?

By Paula
11th Sunday of Ordinary Time

What shall I return to the Lord…
-PSALMS 116:12

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
-ROMANS 5: 1-5

Here we are once again, headed into GA! We enter with hearts that have been wounded and filled with suffering, some more than others. But today we are also blessed with the good news from Paul that we have PEACE.

I have to admit that sometimes Paul really ticks me off, but at times I want to hug him. I guess this would be a time where I would want to hug him. Paul is trying to help me change my tone, my view, my inner energy, and my thought process.

There have been several times in my life when I was not able to hear the words from Romans 5:1-5. In my mid-twenties, I was convinced that those words could not have been meant for me. During those times, I was mistaken about God’s call on my life. I said more than 1000 times, “What do you want from me, God?” Sometimes the tone I used to say these words was an angry shout, and sometimes a humble prayer. Sound familiar?

Even though we suffer as an LGBTQ community, and alone, we will endure. It is through our suffering and endurance that young people today and tomorrow will be able to accept God’s call with a little more ease. They will not have to shout out to God in tears and anger - “What do you want from me, God?” - because of the rejection they face in answering God’s call. One day our suffering and endurance will give others the freedom to serve without persecution.

Whether you are physically present in San Jose or not, pray for the GA this week. Pray that God’s love through the Holy Spirit comes alive in a stronger way than ever before. My hope is that, as a denomination, we can fall face first before God together and with humbled tears and pray, “What do you want from us, God?

May the peace, grace, hope, endurance, and character that God has grown within each of us be with you this week … because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Lord Christ,
At times we are like strangers on this earth, taken aback by all the violence the harsh oppositions. Like a gentle breeze, you breathe upon us the Spirit of peace. Transfigure the deserts of our doubts, and so prepare us to be bearers of reconciliation wherever you place us, until the day when a hope of peace dawns in our world.

-prayer by Brother Roger of Taiz'e, from the Book of Common Worship

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