November Thoughts

by Fr. Chris Hardman 

As I was pondering the scope of our offerings this month, I noticed that they not only conform to the four keys of Vibrant Faith Ministries, they correspond to an understanding of God as Trinity. Let me share with you a Trinity Prayer we have been using for our Wednesday adult class. It comes from Franciscan author and priest, Richard Rohr.

God For Us, we call You Father,
God Alongside Us, we call You Jesus,
God Within Us, we call You Holy Spirit.

You are the Eternal Mystery
That enables, enfolds, and enlivens all things,
Even us, and even me.

Every Name falls short of your
Goodness and Greatness.

We can only see who You are in what is.
We ask for such perfect seeing.

As it was in the beginning, is now,
and ever shall be. Amen.

Baptism is about bringing us into this life of a Trinitarian God. More accurately, baptism is about proclaiming what is already true-we are already a part of God's Trinitarian life, we just need to become more aware of it and more grounded in it, which is the purpose of the church. The church's role is to help us to know God.

When we do not know God the Father, there is a fundamental scariness to the universe. Anxiety, thus, begins to permeate our lives and we get caught in trying to save ourselves through moral stances or "right" belief. Ben Thompson will help us address the "anxiety of our day." As we understand it better, maybe we can begin to support each other in ways that strengthens our trust in a God who is For Us.

When we do not know God the Son, we do not trust the paschal mystery of death and resurrection-loss and renewal. When we fear death, or any kind of diminishment, we take an over-controlling stance toward others, rather than an open and vulnerable one. This, paradoxically, ends up "killing" us because we are only ourselves in relationship with each other. Our two Stephen leaders, Sandy and Anne, are going to address that problem by teaching us some new listening skills so we can be more open to each other and become aware of God Alongside Us.

When we do not know God the Holy Spirit we are afraid of diversity, afraid of those who are different from ourselves. Our Fair Trade Market with Ten Thousand Villages may not calm those fears, but it will connect us to a whole lot of people from all around the world. Let us hope that helping all these different people will somehow help awaken the Spirit of love within so we can reach out in love to those who are different. May we all trust that God is Within Us-all of us.

I hope you will join us in November so we can worship the God For Us, the God Alongside Us, and the God Within Us. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be.