Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Homily by the Rev. Joanne Davies, September 24, 2014

Readings: Proverbs 30:5-9; Ps 119:105-112; Luke 9:1-6

The Rev Joanne Davies
Looking at the readings for today, three verses would not leave me. No matter what else I sought to understand, to reflect upon, they kept insisting themselves upon me. And so, I surrendered. And took to heart a quote I love from Anne Johnston:
“Search out God's heart within each word of scripture, fill it full with your own loving and carry on from there.“

So my searching, my finding and my own loving is what I now share with you.

My three verses are…

"Shake the dust off your feet"  I hear: you may leave and know you do not have to take baggage,  yours nor anyone else's, neither spiritually nor bodily, with you.

"Give me neither poverty nor riches - feed me with the food that I need."  I want to be aware of life and not be buried by goods nor bereft of possibilities. The food that I need is both the food that is God and the food of God's creation.

"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path."   Always, with my deep gratitude.

Once upon a time I owned a house. Then I realised that the house was an unwanted weight in my life, slowing me and worrying me about flooring and chimneys and plumbing in such a single enclosed space that seemed to lock me in. I sold the house and moved out to a rented apartment.  I didn't even take half my belongings with me. And, I was relieved to give away all the stuff I had stored in the basement for so-called future needs. Moving 19 years ahead, I recently moved from a two bedroom apartment with a good sized storage room to a one bedroom apartment with no storage room. For me, the delightful freedom of having less — but as much as one needs — illuminates creation and makes my home, all that I can see in one turn around, a place of rest and comfort and not a weight or a distraction. Makes my home not the walls or the things but a place of sacred care…the food that I need.  

Having just the food I need also makes my home something that allows me to move on. To change. To discover. To journey. To be unencumbered to know God's presence on the path, without the weight of personal responsibility to walls.

And to journey in healing. Having just the food that I need opens up my life as a chaplain. Allows me to sit in the sadness and the pain and know God's presence and know God as forever joy  even in the sadness and pain. Having just the food that I need means I can leave my baggage and hear someone else's to help them leave it. Having just the food that I need means I can still be surprised and filled with wonder by my work.  And know God is lighting my path.

On Monday evening I was with a large family, children, siblings and parents, as they said goodbye to their loved one. He was dying, really only alive because of modern medicine's ability to keep a heart beating for awhile longer. The patient's son told the story of how he heard the news that the interventions in his father's life were now doing more harm than good. His father loved robins. Always called them, "my very own bird". When the phone rang the son was outside and a robin landed at his feet. As the doctor began to give him the difficult news about his father he went inside. But, forgetting to close the door. The robin followed him inside and landed on the kitchen counter where he was leaning. Without really thinking, and holding tears, the son put his hand out to the robin. The robin alighted on to his hand and stayed there…keeping him present to fully hear the words of the doctor. To not dismiss them or seek a way to avoid them. And then when the call was disconnected,  the robin flew out the door.  

God feeds us with the food we need. May we delight in that freedom and honour it in how we live our lives in this world, together and alone.