Monday, March 20, 2006


I will change your name
You shall no longer be called
Wounded, outcast, lonely or afraid,
I will change your name
Your new name shall be
Confidence, joyfulness, overcoming one,
Faithfulness, friend of God, one who seeks my face.

I love this parish. We're singing the above as our gospel hymn this Lent. It's so simple, and it's so real. Non-threatening repentance, you know? Your error is in all forms of hurt and alienation. I will bring you home.

I've known the New Zealand Lord's Prayer for years, but had never used it liturgically. It enfleshes what the more familiar version is trying to get at. It's incredibly powerful to say, "For you reign in the glory of the power that is love," surrounded by a community whose identity is invested in loving and welcoming the stranger. I'm praying, and aware of what I'm tasting, at the same time. (I'm not a stranger here anymore; haven't been since the first Sunday I attended, in October. But there's talk here all the time about how to be a more welcoming community. They're unaware of how well they already practice it.)

I went to a meeting after yesterday's service, to plan the logistics of Holy Week. I hadn't known it was happening, and didn't need to be there; I was just there for the learning experience. I expressed enthusiasm about labyrinths. Ended up not only promising to write up a one-page guide to what a labyrinth is, but being there for an hour and a half on the Wednesday of Holy Week (5-6:30 pm, if you want to show up), to teach people how to walk it. After, I tagged one of the people on the healing team, whom I'd spoken with in January. I hadn't seen her in recent weeks; she's been sick. I told her I was still interested. She said, well, talk to Tommy, I think you're qualified. What? There's a week-long, intensive (and expensive) training that you've all had, that I haven't done. She knows. But she sees this in me, and she'll teach me what I need to know. She wants to do a Saturday training and a bunch of Wednesdays, also to help build up the Wednesday healing service. I told her I only know where I'll be through May. So, she's doing it while we know I'm here.

A friend drove me from church to the Embarcadero BART. I don't know how far it is out of her way, and it's not by any means the closest to church, but we like talking and so there it is. She's been questioning the level of her own participation, because she has physical limitations that she's not used to. I said something like, "If we're going to be inclusive, physical abilities need to be a part of that." New thought for her. But isn't it obvious? You should not be limited--by yourself or other people--from doing what God calls you to. We all live in this, er, Kindom. Anyway, she responded: "I think you're in the right calling." Wow, thank you. Why? "A lot of things. It's not just this conversation."

These are the snippets I cherish, walking on an unknown road. These are my streetlights, my signposts. "Go here. Do more of that. This is where you belong." I'm so thankful for them. All I know, in my own self, is to be where God is. God is everywhere. I know I'm called to give everything I am. Utterly. I'm learning how to do that.

"The process," and politics, scare me. I need to just explore and experiment right now; to play and learn and do exactly what I'm doing. I'm grateful for this time.

Came home and attempted to study--with absolutely no success. I have a midterm tomorrow, a paper due Thursday, and a verbatim to get pinned down this week. Next week is spring break. I'm staying with my friend in Stockton next weekend, then driving to Olympia next Monday morning. I love what I'm doing and I'm meant to be doing it--but all I want to do right now is pack up the extra junk in my room, and get out of Dodge.


Debbie of Boise said...

The beautiful poem at the top of your post echos Isaiah 62:2-5 --
2 The nations shall see your vindication, and all the kings your glory; and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will give. 3 You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. 4 You shall no more be termed Forsaken,and your land shall no more be termed Desolate;but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her,and your land Married;for the LORD delights in you, and your land shall be married. 5 For as a young man marries a young woman, so shall your builder marry you, and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.

Seems God loves to heal, to take way our brokeness and give us new life, whether as individuals or groups.

Mimi said...

Enjoy your break.

Congratulations on the Holy Wednesday job.