Fellow travelers on this road,

Tomorrow is the first Sunday in October.  As is our tradition, we will gather around the table at the end of our worship service and share communion with one another.  This Sunday is also the last Sunday to bring donations of gently used household items: drinking glasses, mugs, large plates and bowls, serving size plates &bowls, eating and cooking utensils, blankets and towels, rice cookers and pot / pan sets with lids.  Thank you to those who have already donated.   

Last Sunday we explored how we can begin our journey home and live a spiritual life by letting go of our denial and delusions so that we can see Reality, including God’s love and promises.  One of the most common denials that prevent us from seeing reality, is thinking we can fix what is wrong in ourselves or the world.  Our culture believes in the myth of “pulling one’s self up by one’s own bootstraps.”  However, in order to continue our journey home and live a spiritual life, it’s important to let go of our grandiosity, accept our limitations and be open to the reality that God, who has more power than we ever could hope to have, can help us. 

As I’ve thought about this stage of our journey home, I’ve thought about some of my more liberal friends.  Liberal has a number of different meanings.  But I boil them down to: openness and giving generously.  Some might say a person who is liberal is tolerant.  However, when I enter into conversations with some of my more liberal friends about any number of topics, I often experience them not being very liberal.  They are not open to hearing different ideas and they are not generous towards others with different opinions.  Sometimes, they want to keep people from doing or saying things.  At times I’ve called out my friends on this and truth be told, I’ve had to call myself out as well from time to time. 

I’ve thought of these experiences because I believe something similar can happen in our spiritual lives.  People can be open to all sorts of ideas, but bring up God and they object.  Perhaps this is due to doubt or prejudice.  Or one’s objection might be rooted to a particular idea of God that was imposed on them during childhood.  Still others might object because they think they are going to be asked to believe in your idea of God.  And still others are biased and unreasonable, unwilling to consider another point of view.  Such individuals are not open.  They still may believe in their own grandiosity.   

If we want to come home and live a spiritual life, there’s this spiritual practice of “openness,” of believing in God, even when, like the man in our scripture from Mark 9:14-29, we want to believe, but are still struggling with unbelief.  In such moments we can pray the cry of faith the man prayed.  “I believe; help my unbelief!”  My prayer for you for tomorrow is that you will enter into worship in a spirit of openness.    

See you tomorrow,

Pastor Dave