Saturday, May 21, 2011

Ordination Invocation

God our Father in Heaven, your name is holy.

As this corner of your Kingdom gathers now,
This limb of the Body of Christ coming together
To be joined by the sinew of your Holy Spirit,
Would you hit us with these reminders this morning:

Of the call of your whole church to the work and movement of your mission (your Kingdom come)
Of the hope that is in what you want for your people and the whole world (your will be done)
Of the field in which we find ourselves to fulfill these things (on earth)
Of your mission already at work (as it is in heaven)
Of your hand full of those things that we need (give us this day our daily bread)
Of your call to the ministry of forgiveness and reconciliation (forgive us as we we forgive)
Of your guidance and direction to good ends (lead us not into temptation)
And of your great sacrifice of liberation in Jesus Christ (so deliver us from evil)

That today is not an end, but a beginning:
An endeavor of authentication, authorization, recognition, and confirmation
To be stewards, proclaimers, gospel-bearers, and holy witnesses
Fed by the gifts and graces swathed upon our backs by your good hand.

Ever and always...this kingdom: yours.
And each day, week, season, and year...the power: yours.
And today, even in this great moment for your church and her ministers...the glory: yours.
In the name of the First Beloved Ordinand at whose initiation you were greatly pleased,
Jesus Christ,

Written for the 2011 New England District Church of the Nazarene Assembly Ordination Service, May 21, 2011

Joe Baldinger (who I'm pretty sure I remember giving me a ride on his motorcycle when I was a kid), Nell Becker Sweeden (with whom I was in seminary), Sharon Desrochers (who was youth group leader when I was a teen at the Lowell First CotN), Melissa DeBono (who is such a great friend), my colleague: Lynnette McCabe (pastoring in Pawtucket, RI), and Tom Quattrociocchi were all ordained as elders into ministry in the Church of the Nazarene this morning. As always, I really appreciated the service.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Thoughts on Food, The Biggest Loser, and another Dinner Prayer

A couple of years ago, I wrote a dinner prayer for our family. You can read it here. It has stuck, the kids know it, and I love it when we pray it (we also still often pray the other ones that I mentioned in that post).

I wrote another one this past week:

Lord God,
We’ve gathered at this table here,
The food before us all to share.
We take it just as Christ has done.
Thank you for this course we’ll run.
We break it: make us, Lord as one.
We give it, God, as did your Son.
And in his name we ask your seal
Upon and in and through this meal,
His presence in our bond revealed.

I was preparing to preach on Jesus' meal with the two from Emmaus, and was reminded that there is a repeated pattern in the meals Jesus oversaw. Jesus, in numerous places, takes the food, thanks God for it, breaks it, and gives it. He did this at the Emmaus table, in the feeding of the 5000 in Luke, and at the Lord's Supper in Luke (I haven't looked at the pattern in the other gospels at this point). If we pray before eating, we generally are good at the second part (thanking). And we do the first as well, but almost exclusively subconsciously and involuntarily.

The main point of the sermon this past week was that we can let our meal times be a reminder to us of Christ's presence to us. I find this encouraging, refreshing, and strengthening. It's to be celebrated! In our eating, God gives us the opportunity to be reminded of what God has done and what God is doing.

Call me old-fashioned, but I'm more and more convinced that our meal times are so very often wasted. We rush them, make them happen as an aside to other activities, and otherwise unhealthily abuse them. When I noted on Sunday morning that this is abnormal in comparison to much of the rest of the world and the rest of human history, the five or so people seated in our sanctuary who have served on the mission field nodded their heads, some of them vigorously so. For most of the rest of humanity and for most of the rest of human history, food is the #1 order of the day. Daily schedules are centered around putting food on the table and eating it. In our society, it's mostly centered around things and other various often meaningless activities.

I am a huge closet fan of the show, The Biggest Loser. Some reality shows have come and gone on my list of what I watch, especially as the list has grown shorter and shorter due to time and the capacity to care. But The Biggest Loser has remained. Call me a sucker, but I love it. While I realize that the bottom line of pretty much anything we see on television is money and ratings, I do appreciate how the show maintains that it isn't just about weight loss, but about not allowing the things of food, depression, self-worthlessness, and other various forms of abuse control us.

Food and the practices surrounding it is a major problem in our American society. So take time to pray and be thankful, to break and share. Enjoy your food, but don't let it control you. And enjoy the ones with whom you eat. If you usually eat alone, try and find time and space to not to. It's harder to sin in general when you're with others, and similarly, eating with others might be a good way to change some of your eating habits for the better. And while fights can certainly be had at the dinner table, it's generally true that it's harder to fight with someone when you're sharing some good food.

(I appear to some to be becoming more and more drawn to the things of the "whacko" Amish, Mennonite, and Brethren. Yes, that's true. Guilty as charged. :-)

Monday, May 02, 2011

Even Exchange?

Five years ago yesterday (5/1/2006), my little buddy Bobby Moscillo was killed in Iraq.  "Different war," yeah I know.  Yesterday (5/1/2011), Osama bin Laden was killed.

Even exchange?

Tauros. Skubala.