De-Serve

3 Mar

Kathryn Hauser’s Reflection for 3 Lent 03 March 2013
De-Serve
Luke 13:2 He asked them, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were WORSE sinners than all other Galileans?
Luke 13:4 Or those eighteen who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them–do you think that they were WORSE offenders than all the others living in Jerusalem?
I was thinking about this concept of WORSE sins and WORSE offenses. There is Universal Sin just as there is the Great Universal Sadness, but I had a hard time wrapping my heart-mind around gradations of sin. A break in the divine connection with God is painful and palpable and ugly no matter to what degree it occurs. The Church-as-Institution has done an incredible job of promoting the concept of punishment, because sin (supposedly) must be punished in order for wickedness to be driven into the abyss forever. But that concept only breeds a deeper and thicker spirit of Punishment (either by self-infliction or imposed outwardly via projection.) When that happens there is an increasing sense of no room in the soul to listen carefully to God (Isa 55:2), or to listen to the body (v 2), or to find delight in healthy [ie “rich” and nutritious] food (v 2).
Isa 55:2 Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.
From the Sitz-bath of Sin we gravitate to empty-caloric, poor-quality fast food or junk food, and then progress to evermore elaborate mind games we play along with video games to conquer, all in futile attempts to fill up the hole in the soul. That hole is un-fillable, so it is almost impossible to take delight in God’s creation, because the darkness, density, and weight of that hole blocks the radiant glow of God’s wholeness/holiness. I say “almost” because it’s not that we don’t have moments of taking delight; it’s that the Divine Connection is broken, so we don’t get the full immersion in Wholeness. Somewhere along the line with the concept of Punishment comes the concept of Worthiness and the onerous thought that one “deserves” what one gets (or doesn’t get.) That’s a slippery slope! There’s little room for grace in that picture.
What does “deserve” mean? To De-Serve? What idols are we serving?
Definition: “de•serve”
1. to merit, be qualified for, or have a claim to (reward, assistance, punishment, etc.) because of actions, qualities, or situation
2. to be worthy of, qualified for, or have a claim to reward, punishment, recompense, etc.
Origin: 1250–1300; Middle English deserven < Anglo-French, Old French deservir, Latin dēservīre to devote oneself to the service of
Synonyms
1. rate, warrant, justify.
What are we devoting ourselves to the service of? The prefix “de-” means the removal of, from, the reversal of, separation, negation, descent, intensity, and privation, (ie “His lack of privation began to affect his health.”) Where’s the focus of devotion? In this case devotion is not about loyalty. There are many, many in the Church and among the prophets who are loyal and faithful to Christ and His mission. They are not self-serving and agendized. I know they exist and are out there. Where are they? What must be de-Served, no longer served? What are the few in the front lines looking at that is blocking the view for those behind them? If the focus is on oneself or on the ego, then it serves itself. If the focus is on another’s ego, then the ego is still in the picture and is getting fed. I don’t think ego-feeding is what God had in mind when He said,
Isaiah 55:1 Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you that have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
This is a picture of grace. So in its opposite, does it mean that when we come from an ego-base of a rewards-punishment/ worthiness-unworthiness/ worse-greater Sin frame of reference, then this automatically leads to alcoholism, gluttony, and consumerism to fill the hole of Emptiness within us? Whom do we de-Serve, not serve? Do we then no longer serve the King and the Greater Good at that point? Where does that point start? It is different for everybody. Does this limit our effectiveness in His service? I remember in the beginning of my journey sitting in the dirt and talking to God. I was feeling a lot like Jōb. Self-pity wasn’t actually camping there next to me, but it was lurking in the shadows. I bemoaned the fact that there I was, despite all my prayers and faithfulness and serving and I was still literally sitting in the dirt. Jesus was sitting beside me and He looked me kindly in the eye and asked, “What’s dirt got to do with it?” That question will forever be emblazoned on my consciousness. The shadows lengthened in the late afternoon.
Psalm 63:7 for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I sing for joy.
We all are under the same spiritual “cloud” and all have passed through the spiritual “sea.” (1 Cor 10:1) We all have been “baptized” into Moses and his human-divine journey. (v 2) We all have eaten of the same spiritual food (v 3) and drank the same spiritual drink. (v 4) For just as the Hebrews drank from the spiritual Rock of the Messiah-Deliverer that followed them (v4), so we have drunk from the same spiritual Rock as those who came after them. Just as their experiences served as an example and they were written down to instruct them and those who followed, so our experiences have been written down as examples and to instruct us.
1 Cor 10:11 These things happened to them to serve as an example, and they were written down to instruct us, on whom the ends of the ages have come.
Just as the Hebrews went through their Rites of Passage, so has the Church been going through hers. But “Rites” are not about being right or wrong; not about being worthy or unworthy. The focus is on the Passage, where the spirit of death Passed Over (ie, Passover); where the faithful who followed God’s instructions put the blood of the lamb on their doorposts. (Exodus 12) Rites of Passage point to serving rather than deserving. They point to passing along wisdom gained through the trials of fire and pressure. (1 Cor 10:13) They point to the fruit born out of barrenness, during which time the Master Gardener digs around our roots, puts manure on them, and lets them lay fallow to soak in. (Lk 13:8) It is in the dark passage, in the shadows, where we begin to fully comprehend the power in Jesus’ name.
“The strongest oak of the forest is not the one that is protected from the storm and hidden from the sun. It’s the one that stands in the open where it is compelled to struggle for its existence against the winds and rains and the scorching sun.” –Napoleon Hill
The Church has stood in the same sandals of the Disciples. Even in her shadow she will bring forth healing. As Eileen Fisher shared from the Lord,
"Pray this year that you will come to the full understanding of the power in My name. And if you grasp this and if you understand this, you will not find fear even near you. For you will stand boldly in the name of Jesus. And you will see the same power that My disciples saw, for they stood out of the way so My power could flow. Even their shadow brought forth healing. The shadow from being in My presence brought forth healing.
"I am looking for those who will shadow My thoughts. I am looking for those who will shadow Me and learn My heart and learn My mind and learn My Word. And as a result of this, you will become the shadows of Heaven that cover the earth. Know that I am looking for those who will come and be sent by My Spirit," says the Lord your God.
Are not the healing shadows a significant part of the core message of the Book of Revelation? Jesus did say that the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. (Rev 22:2) The message is that the Church is no different than the Jews or the Egyptians, the Samaritans, the Iranians, the Syrians, the Koreans, …. We are all mankind. We are all made up of the same Stuff. We have all been going through our collective Rite of Passage, “the ends of the ages,” (1 Cor 10:11), our very own global Shaman Quest. Are we grown up? Collectively we have been passing through our Rite of Passage into becoming maturing Light Bearers. We all need Jesus Messiah. And He comes to us individually and personally; not by worthiness or deserving, or in punishing or retribution, or in manipulation or in exploitation, but in mercy and love in grace as we submit to Him.
Prayer: Lord, our Western Culture did ourselves a great disservice by intellectualizing ourselves out of having rites of passage in our society. Thank You for providing it for us anyway. We need You, Lord. Deliver us. Help us to de-Serve, to not serve idols or anything that would distract us from You and our quest for You. Forgive us, protect us, and nurture us as we collectively die a shaman death this Lenten season as You lead us through this holy rite of passage. Amen.

3 Lent 03 March 2013 Gospel: Luke 13:1-9
Isaiah 55:1-9
55:1 Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you that have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.

55:2 Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.

55:3 Incline your ear, and come to me; listen, so that you may live. I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David.

55:4 See, I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples.

55:5 See, you shall call nations that you do not know, and nations that do not know you shall run to you, because of the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has glorified you.

55:6 Seek the LORD while he may be found, call upon him while he is near;

55:7 let the wicked forsake their way, and the unrighteous their thoughts; let them return to the LORD, that he may have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD.

55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Psalm 63:1-8
63:1 O God, you are my God, I seek you, my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

63:2 So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory.

63:3 Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.

63:4 So I will bless you as long as I live; I will lift up my hands and call on your name.

63:5 My soul is satisfied as with a rich feast, and my mouth praises you with joyful lips

63:6 when I think of you on my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night;

63:7 for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I sing for joy.

63:8 My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.

1 Corinthians 10:1-13
10:1 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea,

10:2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea,

10:3 and all ate the same spiritual food,

10:4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ.

10:5 Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them, and they were struck down in the wilderness.

10:6 Now these things occurred as examples for us, so that we might not desire evil as they did.

10:7 Do not become idolaters as some of them did; as it is written, "The people sat down to eat and drink, and they rose up to play."

10:8 We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day.

10:9 We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did, and were destroyed by serpents.

10:10 And do not complain as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer.

10:11 These things happened to them to serve as an example, and they were written down to instruct us, on whom the ends of the ages have come.

10:12 So if you think you are standing, watch out that you do not fall.

10:13 No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.

Luke 13:1-9
13:1 At that very time there were some present who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.

13:2 He asked them, "Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were worse sinners than all other Galileans?

13:3 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did.

13:4 Or those eighteen who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them–do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others living in Jerusalem?

13:5 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did."

13:6 Then he told this parable: "A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and found none.

13:7 So he said to the gardener, 'See here! For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and still I find none. Cut it down! Why should it be wasting the soil?'

13:8 He replied, 'Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig around it and put manure on it.

13:9 If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.'"

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2 Responses to “De-Serve”

  1. csvitek March 3, 2013 at 12:26 pm #

    God bless you Kathryn! I have been looking at the website of the Diocese of Western Anglicans. My prayer for them is to find their positive direction forward rather than existing as a counter example of the Episcopal church. Take care, and let me know if you’d like to come over for lunch and prayer sometime.

    Cathy

    • truthinus March 5, 2013 at 5:37 am #

      God bless you, Cathy! This is a beautiful vision and prayer you offer that the two Churches would find their positive direction forward. I join you in this prayer. I add my voice to yours and say that we don’t need more counter-cultures, but blessing the sacred in what we have, honoring God in our diversity, and making space for creativity so that Wholeness may come in as we trust grace to cushion us and lead us forward. God IS the Creator.
      If you hadn’t mentioned the Diocese of Western Anglicans in this note, I would not have known or even thought about them having their own website. It just never occurred to me. So, now I just went on to their website and shared my Reflections blog with the bishop’s office. God, be glorified. Say a prayer. Even through all the grinding Silence amplifying the overwhelming Noise all these years, I still believe that that my writings are for the Greater Good and the reconciliation of the Churches.
      I would love to come over for lunch and prayer. Thank you! ~k

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