Friday, May 20, 2016

And Audry sang all the way to work, The Deep Deep Love of Jesus.

Purge me from my sin, and I shall be pure; wash me, and I shall be clean indeed. Psalm 51:8

The way to arrive and remain within "the force field of the Holy Spirit", which is one way of describing consciousness--is both very simple and very hard: you've got to remain in love, with a foundational yes to every moment. You can't risk walking around with a negative, resentful, gossipy, critical mind, because then you won't be in the force field. You will not be a usable instrument. That's why Jesus commanded us to love. It's that urgent. It's that crucial. Richard Rohr, Transforming the World through Contemplative Prayer

I sort of really tried. Kind of.

So it is the end of the year, and middle school teachers just try to hang in there. They show a lot of movies. And they assign a lot of group projects. We are doing biome posters in Science and Immigration Stories in History. That will get a quick presentation next week following a rubric and end up in the big dumpster behind the kitchen.

My assignment was whispered to me just as the different lines of students were being formed after lunch for afternoon classes, things like capoeira, the Brazilian martial arts sort of dance class, art, yoga, glassblowing. And then there was a sort of motley-looking crew left over, shoving each other back and forth as they leaned up against the cafeteria wall.

The kids who had been uninvited from every single enrichment. You may not come back, ever. No where to go for the next hour and a half.

So I was handed a Monopoly game and pointed up to the Language Arts/History classroom. And with reflection, I almost did it. I was pretty cheerful and sturdy. And counted out lots of piles of money and let the kids draw two deeds apiece to speed things up. And I didn’t complain. And I wasn’t crabby.

And I had a lot of little memory moments of Miss Dorky Middle School Christy who spent two years in the basement of the big house on the wrong side of the railroad tracks in Dayton, Tennessee playing Monopoly with her brother Scottie. Every painful day after another painful day of middle school not fitting in at all angst. We taped all of the deeds to the blonde wood paneling, next to the pool table. And our little secret pride was that we memorized the rent on every single property. With houses.

In sharp contrast to this game, where I had to explain again and again the rent thing and rolling for utilities. The banker cashed in all of 500s and 100s and 50s into ones and fives so he could have this massive wad to shove into people’s faces. And one of the girls kept changing her dice after they rolled so she always got doubles and finally she landed on Free Parking. Another one of the girls asked if it would be okay if she did her homework. Yep.

So inside I might have been a little critical and resentful. And what could have turned into an actually brilliant idea of loving on some pretty discouraged angry kids turned into just moving the minute and hour hands around the clock. Nothing more.

And at the end Mr. Naughty Boy who is not coming back, even to the school that “Never Gives Up on a Child” tossed all of the money up into the air again and again and danced a crazy little dance. And Miss Doesn’t Always Think Before She Acts grabbed the houses and deeds and threw them up in the air. Then stomped on them. And kicked the little pieces under the chairs. And the afternoon spun down into even more glum consequences.

And I could have been light shining in a pretty dim spot. If I had taken the very simple and very hard path of remaining in His Spirit of Love.

I do not think even for a moment I was an instrument of His peace. I was just trying to control the situation with my own vaguely pleasant strength.

And I failed. Miserably.

And who knows what the outcome could have been, had I been a conduit of His grace, His joy and His lovingkindness?

And that’s really all I have left. Eight more days to pour His healing oil on these wounded little souls.

It’s that urgent. It’s that crucial.

Purge me from my sin, and I shall be pure; wash me, and I shall be clean indeed. Psalm 51:8

Another day, another opportunity to let these kiddos see Jesus through me… a light that is so lovely that they want with all their hearts to know the source of it.

As I understand the Reign of God, it includes the grace-driven, love-driven transformation of the self and the world. What's more, it recognizes that the transformation of the self and the world are directly connected to each other. . . Isn't it instructive that the spiritual formation of the original disciples happens with Jesus on the road? In effect, the disciples learn by doing. They grow into an understanding of this God of love, this God of compassion, this God who loves justice, this God who makes all things new, by participating as active observers and agents of compassion, justice, and newness. And, yes, necessarily, they pause with Jesus to reflect, ask questions (sometimes stupid questions), and pray. But the spiritual adventure described in the four Gospels does not happen in the sanctuary; it happens on the road, in the company of beggars, prostitutes, and lepers. Richard Rohr

May this be my whole heart prayer today: I love you, O LORD my strength, O LORD my stronghold, my crag, and my haven. Psalm 18:1

With a foundational yes to every moment.

 I believe. Help my unbelief.