Worship At Home
Small Group Reflection of 06-28-20
In these days of social distancing we have endeavored to provide a Corpus Christi online worship experience. The Worship At Home web page has been our attempt to provide that. One of the ways our community has used this resource has been to gather virtually in real time using video conferencing software like FaceTime, Skype, Messenger, and Zoom. In an effort to hold onto our deep liturgical roots, one virtual group has gone to the point of having rotating presiders, lectors, and even homilists. The reflections provided by the members of this group have often been very inspiring. In an effort to share these reflections with the larger community several of them have been collected and published here on the CC website.
Reflection from 06-28-20, provided by Sara Vetter.
37 ‘No one who prefers father or mother to me is worthy of me. No one who prefers son or daughter to me is worthy of me.
38 Anyone who does not take his cross and follow in my footsteps is not worthy of me.
39 Anyone who finds his life will lose it; anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it.
40 Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me; and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.
41 Anyone who welcomes a prophet because he is a prophet will have a prophet’s reward; and anyone who welcomes an upright person because he is upright will have the reward of an upright person.
42 If anyone gives so much as a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is a disciple, then in truth I tell you, he will most certainly not go without his reward.’
As I read and prayed over the gospel this week, one part of the gospel resonated with me: Anyone who finds his life will lose it; and anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it. I know literally, Jesus was actually saying the disciples would lose their lives for him. This gospel takes place at a time when Jesus was preparing his disciples to go out and spread the good news of the Lord. This was such a radical idea, people were literally leaving their families and completely changing their lives to be a follower of Christ, with the promise of the reward of eternal life in heaven. They would be persecuted and executed for following him, but they would find an eternal life in heaven. But, when read that line, I couldn’t help but think of the quote, “if you want to make God Laugh, tell him your plans.”
We have all lost our lives over the past four, yes only four months in one way or another. Some of us lost our jobs or had our work life completely upended. Some of us completely changed our lifestyles, vacations, and other plans. Countless graduations, weddings, and celebrations were canceled or looked dramatically different than what was originally planned. My heart goes out especially for those waiting for sacraments, baptism, first communion, and confirmation. For those, lives weren’t as much lost, but yet not able to begin or move forward. And then, just as maybe we were getting to know our new world, George Floyd was murdered and our lives ended again. Some of us mourned a senseless death to a yet another person of color and questioned despite #blacklivesmatter being around for years had yet to bring meaningful change. I know that through listening to our communities stories, George Floyd brought up painful memories and realities of prejudices that you have felt even at Corpus Christi, and then some of us mourned when we realized our city, neighborhood or even our church wasn’t as free of racism as we thought it was.
So now here we are in this new unknown awkward uncomfortable space. And that’s ok. Jesus never asked us to be comfortable. By telling us to leave our families, lose our lives for him, that was never a call to be comfortable. It was quite the opposite – it was a call to give up what you know is comfortable and move beyond it. As I was meditating through the gospel this week, my mind started to wonder a bit and I had to ask why now? Police have been killing or using excess force on our black community members for a long time. Philando Castile, Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, the stories are heartbreaking and they are endless. Sometimes there were riots and protests, but they fizzled away. There are so many stories we don’t even know. This time feels different. There is something about George Floyd that feels bigger and it gives me hope. Statues are falling, brands are being updated, even Disney world is updating Splash Mountain. There seems to be real change in some city governments. Juneteenth could become a state holiday. Police departments are changing the way they work. Part of me asks why didn’t we do this before, why did this take so long to change? But then, another part of me comes back to why now? And you know, I wonder if it was the silence that occurred when our lives ended. This silence was so profound, it’s changing our planet. People stopped moving, stopped traveling, and our skies are clearing. And just about every county had to stop and everyone was forced to live in our new uncomfortable world. Great things happen outside our comfort zone, but we also have to be silent enough to listen for the change that needs to happen. For me, the best things come through silence. I think best when I’m in the car, by myself, or in church either right before mass starts or in prayer right after communion. I can’t tell you how many ideas, epiphanies, resolutions or even comfort I have felt when I’m in those spaces. For me, I know it’s because I’m silent. The stillness opens my brain to new ideas and I’m able to welcome the holy spirit in and actually listen to what it has to say.
I’m not going to say that God sent us this pandemic, even though I do feel the world “biblical” is an appropriate word to describe the scale of what is happening. I don’t know where the line exists between divination and human causation, I feel the answer is a mystery and lies in a place we will never understand. But, however it happened, over these past few months, the world went silent. We, collectively as a world-wide community, had to stop our lives, get very uncomfortable and be silent. And then, George Floyd was murdered and because we all could finally listen, and we could feel, and all of a sudden, the space was there for a movement to begin. I do believe that the holy spirit works in mysterious ways, and inserts itself everywhere. If the whole world was silent and we all collectively take a moment to listen what is in our hearts, we can do amazing things, and it starts with simply taking care of each other.
The last line of the Gospel reads:
“If anyone gives so much as a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is a disciple, then in truth I tell you, he will most certainly not go without his reward.”
Jesus asks us to give up everything for him, everything we know to spread the good word, but at the same time, He’s also simply asking for us to take care of one another, even of cup of water to a disciple will get a reward. The most simple act is all he is expecting. I’m sure Jesus knew that if everyone did one simple act of kindness to another, the world would change
So here we are at our challenge. Our lives as we knew them and lived them are ended. We need to make the choice of deciding if we lost it to the pandemic wishing things were back to normal or, can we choose to step forward, be comfortable being uncomfortable, listen to what the silence has been telling us and ask ourselves how do we live our lives even more fully as disciples and live it for Jesus Christ.