Sunday, August 8, 2010

Someone Else's Words

A Non-Sermon
Sunday, August 8, 2010

I am exhausted. I've had a cold. I miss vacation. The cats are cranky. School starts soon. The house is a mess. It seems that many of the people I love are in crisis--the kind of crisis where you lose your faith. So I have no words of my own today. Which is fine, because Christians are a loquatious bunch and there are plenty of other people's words to borrow.

You may think this is about mushrooms, because of the picture. And I did once write a paper titled "Jesus the Fungus", describing our Savior as a contaminating, house-eating fungus whose corosive quality eats away at the U.S. house of racism and bigotry. If you want it, e-mail me. But today was about seeking after the divine and not finding that sneaky, shifty, crafty, low-down skunk of a God.

So we read this scripture, Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16 

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen...All of these died in faith without having received the promises, but from a distance they saw and greeted them. They confessed that they were strangers and foreigners on the earth, for people who speak in this way make it clear that they are seeking a homeland.

Ok. There's more to the scripture than that. Click on the link, go read, I'm not stopping you. But I am about to crash for a well-earned Sunday afternoon nap. I could just stop with "faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." But I'm a preacher, so a little more.

Too worn to write a sermon, I read a story instead, from Philip Gulley's Front Porch Tales. You can find some of the book by clicking on the link, but of course not the story I used, which is called "Seeking and Finding". Here's the part I am pointedly sending out to you all, whom I love.

This brief, sweet story is about a mushroom hunting society and their quest to find morel mushrooms (the Holy Grail of mushrooms). They didn't find any, but that wasn't the point.

In the Bible it talks about knocking and the door will be opened. I've met some folks for whom that is true. Folks who stumble upon the holy like children upon morels. But for every one of those happy finders, I've met a weary knocker. Lifelong seekers whose knuckles are bloody-raw in their quest for the divine.

Sometimes they come by to talk. They flop down in a rocker and ask why God seems silent. I never know what to tell them, other than to keep on looking, that God works at God's pace. I point out that sometimes good things come easy, but not usually. So it's a matter of persevering, of not discouraging, of organizing your life to increase your chances of finding.

I didn't learn that from the Bible. I learned it from my dad, while traipsing through light-dappled woods in search of the Holy Grail.

Beloveds, you may not have noticed, but my knuckles are bloody-raw too. I suggest a nap. Some good food. I would love your company. Soon enough we can quest after the divine again, but for now rest and take care of the basics. That's all I've got left. Amen.

1 Timothy 5:23

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