DATE: 13 March 2016
TO: Manantial de Gracia
YEAR: Are you ready? For God has Made a New Thing…
TITLE: Are you grounded? HOME…! (Estas connectad@? CASA…!)

Blessing a New Home and Dorothy Clicking Her Red Heels

One: There is no place like home…
All: By wisdom a house is build, and by understanding it established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches. (Proverbs 24:3-4)

One: There is no place like home…
All: [Our Creator] bless you and keep you; [Our Creator] make shine upon you and be gracious to you; [Our Creator] give you peace. (Numbers 6:24-26)

One: There is no place like home…
All: Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place. For now I have chosen and consecrated this house that my name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will be there for all time. (2 Chronicles 7:15-16)

One: There is no place like home…
All: Prepare your work outside; get everything ready for yourself in the field, and after that build your house. (Proverbs 24:27)

One: There is no place like home…
All: [David said] And thus you shall greet him: Peace be to you, and peace be to your house, and peace be to all that you have. (1Samuel 25:6)

One: There is no place like home…
All: I have indeed built you an exalted house, a place for you to dwell in forever. (1 Kings 8:13)

One: There is no place like home…
All: Whatever house you enter, first say, Peace be to this house! (Luke 10:5)

Share the Peace as you Bring your Offering Forward: Our House by Madness

Ruth 1: 8-10; 14-18

“Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back! Each of you should go back to your mother’s home. May the Lord be as kind to you as you were to me and to our loved ones who have died. May the Lord repay each of you so that you may find security in a home with a husband.” When she kissed them goodbye, they began to cry loudly. They said to her, “We are going back with you to your people.” [But she said NO! and tried to convince them to return HOME…] They began to cry loudly again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye, but Ruth held on to her tightly. Naomi said, “Look, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods. Go back with your sister-in-law.” But Ruth answered, “Don’t force me to leave you. Don’t make me turn back from following you. Wherever you go, I will go, and wherever you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. Wherever you die, I will die, and I will be buried there with you. May the Lord strike me down if anything but death separates you and me!” When Naomi saw that Ruth was determined to go with her, she ended the conversation.”

Tiempo De Centralizarse (Time For Centering): Pedro Navaja, New York, Empire State of Mind

Are you grounded? HOME…! (Estas connectad@? CASA…!)

Happy Sunday Church!

This weekend, for those of us whose eyes are wide open to what is going on in our surroundings we have been privy to the different realities of what it means to be America… We have seen celebrations, parades, parties and gatherings honoring and remembering The Feast of Saint Patrick. He is the patron saint of Ireland and his feast day is a celebration and commemoration of Christianity’s arrival in Ireland. It is a feast day that falls during the Lenten Season, a season during which we are invited to fast and do without… and on this day… in celebration the restrictions on eating and alcohol consumptions are lifted for the day… and this has served as an encouragement for some to consume more than their “fair share”…

For those who are no longer in Ireland. Who are separated from their birth place, from their ancestral homes, from their families, for those who are a part of the Irish diaspora… It is a cultural gathering. It is a remembrance. It is a recalling and retelling of the ancestral stories. It is a nod on crowded street corners and acknowledgement of shared history.

But do we remember that it is a celebration of the arrival of Christianity on that land? Or is that forgotten?

For those of us who have been following the headlines, this weeks news has been peppered by dissenting opposing political views and understandings. Hammered by rallies and speeches that have been affected and infected and dissected… demonstrations within demonstrations… violence against protesters… people daring to speak their truth no matter their location…

And as these opposing voices are heard, there is an underlying hint of a long ignored conversation of who is welcome, who is a guest, who is home, and who is only a visitor…

Home is sometimes a battlefield, home is sometimes broken, home is sometimes not safe heaven… This is true for the protesters, this is true for the politicians, this is true for the marchers, and for those in the parade!
Home means something different to each of us…

Ruth 1
For many years I have been reading The Book of Ruth. And I have struggled with the differences between Naomi’s two daughters in-law, Ruth and Orpah. One is often viewed as an exemplar: Ruth. The darling daughter-in-law who choose to follow. Determined to have Naomi’s people be her people. Choosing to believe in Naomi’s God rather than continuing to believe in her ancestral gods… Choosing death rather than separation from Naomi.

Naomi invited both women to return HOME. To their homes of ancestry. To the place where they were known. To the place where they did not have to explain their origin. To the place where their names meant something.

But what about Orpah? What about that other story? I have heard preachers speak about all the things that Ruth might have been leaving behind: draught, famine, worship of many baals. But what Orpah? Why did she choose to stay?
According to Diane Butler Bass, “Home was as much a disposition as a building, the place of ultimate hospitality, where everyone was accepted, and a respite in grace.” But this is only an idealized interpretation of what home is…

This week, as I tried to sit still and listen for the message that God speaks into my heart, as I thought and processed, and prayed in my public office an older man approached me under the guise of wondering what it means to “Think Outside the Pulpit” one of the stickers on my open laptop. After a brief introduction he asked me what this weeks sermon was about… and when I answered home he shared three words: Courage, Heart, Brain.

He explained than is his lifetime he has grown to understand that a house is not a home. And that returning to “THAT” house takes courage, because you know what you are getting into. Bass writes that, “the complexity and theological messiness of “home” in our own time is much more like what our ancestors experienced in biblical times than almost anything preached in a fundamentalist church.” I don’t mean this as an attack on anyone’s church, but rather as an acknowledgment that the days of yore, those olden days that we are looking to recreate, that golden age of American…Western idealism, that utopian Biblical home that we eschew to return to…for some it was messy. For some was full of turmoil. For some was broken. For some was a den of inequities. For some was dirty.

“Kind people may go astray and wounded people may be healed, BUT what happens at home becomes a sort of emotional script for the rest of our lives.” And no matter who we are, or where we are on life’s journey that script is imbedded in our hearts. And whether home is a building, a house, a physical location that can be found on a map, or a series of emotions and feelings and heart palpating memories than can only be felt… home is personal and home does not look the same even for each member who lives there.

For me home is music. For me home is memories. For me home is the places on the map where I have been and have felt and have danced and have witnessed the miracle that is God’s love in the midst of the turmoil and disappointment that is human life.

Cantico (Song): Little House on the Prairie Theme Song

Diana Butler Bass, Grounded Finding God in the World A Spiritual Revolution

O God, our help in ages past.
Our hope for years to come.
Our shelter from the stormy blast.
And our eternal home.