Wednesday, January 30, 2008


In Christianity we talk a lot of Brokenness, before God, in our lives that led us to God, in the church, and in our society.

The challenges in the world around us are immense to be sure, and we claim a God who is bigger than all our problems. And yet, I keep coming back to something very simple and altogether extremely difficult - the Great Commandment. You know the one, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and strength and mind, and the second which is like it to Love your neighbor as yourself.

I have to say I have been struggling with that second part of the great commandment this week. First I have been struggling with some difficult persons who are dealing with some very deep psychological problems. I have learned, after being burned over the years, that this is not an area where I can be of help or assistance and so I run away as often as possible. Second, I got a reprimand this week from the General Board of Pensions and Health Benefits, through the Conference Director and a sit-down with members of the District for our lack of self-care as clergy. I was given a reminder of this again in my blogroll today. We are being groomed for self-care once again, which I think would follow more easily if we kept to the first command of the Great Commandment, to love the Lord our God with all of our being - which somehow incorporates the need for Sabbath rest too. And then, last night on the news I see even more news that disparages the health care that I am capable of receiving if I am not managing to stay healthy.

So I am left with a renewed sense of brokenness. Our pastors are broken in their understanding of the role of pastor, to the detriment of their health. Our churches and pastors are broken in their covenant with God to uphold the Ten Commandments, including the role of the Sabbath. Our system designed to help people who have brokenness in their health is also broken. And relationships that should be nurtured are being broken because of displaced roles and values.

I am convinced that God wants nothing more than right relationship among creation, restoring the relationship with God, in Christ, through the Holy Spirit. Now, if I could just bring myself to care about myself and others. Right? And in that statement I realize my downfall. The challenge is to order our lives according to God, the love of neighbor as self will follow. This is not a situation where one can "fake it 'til you make it", by showing and heaping love on others, to discover love of self, and then love of God. Nor is it something that must go inward first to manifest love of self, to understand how to love others, and then be enlightened that "God loved us first". (1 John 4:19)

It is time to restore order, to our pastors, to our churches, to our members (and our meetings), which will in fact restore our relationships with the world, and creation. Love God first and follow God's commands. Now, for the real task - to see how I can do this more each day.


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