I am blessed and thrilled to announce that the Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Krehbiel, pastor at the Church of the Pilgrims in Washington, D.C., National Capital Presbytery, will stand with me as my candidate for Vice Moderator. Jeff inspires me by the way his ministry has the qualities of joy and transforming power that we all desire in the PCUSA.
This prayer for God’s blessing includes a wealth of human experience. We recognize how these activities require God’s blessing that often comes in the form of courage to be able to do these challenging things. One way of understanding praying without ceasing could be having a routine of asking God’s blessing on all our hands do all day long.
This Sunday, April 15, 2012, Katie Ricks will be ordained to the office of teaching elder, becoming Associate Pastor of the Church of Reconciliation, a Presbyterian church in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Katie’s call to ministry was loud and clear—to both herself and to her congregation. But for the past 10 years, because of Presbyterian Church rules, Katie had been barred from ordination. Why? Because Katie has been honest with herself, her God and her church that she is lesbian.
Facing addiction and overcoming it takes great courage. Today, I’d like to share with you a story of courage from my friend, James, a Presbyterian ruling elder and a recovering addict. Thanks to another friend, Jan Leo at the Community House Presbyterian Church, I’m able to share a recording of James telling his story in his own words.
Jesus springs forth from the grave vibrant with life! Perhaps the willingness Gerald May speaks of is another way of capturing the heart of human “courage.”
Though the use of “men” for “people” has become archaic, the yearning expressed here to love and serve Christ with joy is as present to us as our next heart beat. And those things that hold us back are terribly familiar. This prayer asks God to lift those impediments so that we may courageously respond to the “call to better things.”
Holy Week always invites such an intense mixture of feelings. There is the raucous fun of Palm Sunday, the contention of the debates with the powers that be, apprehension at Jesus’ predictions of what is to come, the intimacy of the upper room, the anguish of the trial and execution, the mournful pause on Saturday—dwelling on the loss and holding at bay the exhilaration of Easter. With this wealth of emotion, Holy Week is really a microcosm of life.
Bullying is a national dilemma. Every day thousands of teens wake up afraid to go to school. While everyone agrees that students deserve to learn in a safe school environment, bullying, over the last decade, has proven to be an intractable predicament. If we listen, young adults often give us a window on how and why bullying occurs. They show us ways to confront bullying that turn unsafe environments into generous learning communities that practice empathy and compassion.
I have found in my spiritual journey that fasting takes courage, especially if one aspect of courage is perseverance. At the same time, this prayer reminds us that feasting on what is good and beautiful and true also requires a kind of courage. Particularly, for us Presbyterians, the critical eye can be more comfortable that the open hand. It takes courage on our part to stretch into joy.
I am so excited to share the guest post below with you. It comes from Rev. Jeff Eddings, a colleague in ministry who I deeply admire. Jeff is the pastor of Hot Metal Bridge, a faith community that is diverse in so many ways and is inspiring young people to join at rates far beyond what we are seeing across the PCUSA.