Tuesday, March 04, 2014
How God Wants Us to Feel
How God Wants Us to Feel
It is time for me to rethink my website and blog. You can follow the link for my website and see what is there now. But the question my consultant raised was this; "How do you want people to feel?" As good a question as that is, I found myself rephrasing it; "How does God want us to feel?" She, my consultant, asked me to come up with three words. I came up with four. After all, one of the strongest forms in all architecture is the pyramid. Therefore I find myself thinking about a foursquare Gospel. There are four Gospels. So these are the words I propose as Fr Paul's Foursquare Gospel.
God wants you to feel forgiven. And God wants you to forgive. Here is a picture of the kind of forgiveness God has in mind.
God wants you to feel loved. And God wants you to love. Here is a picture of the kind of love God has in mind.
God wants you to feel compassion. God wants you to have compassion. Since the word compassion in Greek has within it the notion of the womb, I think of such a picture as this for the kind of compassion God wants you to feel and wants you to share.
I love that picture. See the love she has for him? If you see that, you can see the compassion she has for us as well. And perhaps you can see the compassion God wants you to share with the world.
Finally, I see God seeking reconciliation among us. Jesus reconciled us to God. God and Jesus seek to reconcile us to one another. I think of "The Parable of the Prodigal Son", or probably more aptly titled, "The Parable of the Compassionate Father". How difficult a thing it is for the Father to make both sons see how generous the Father's love is.
You can almost feel the love of the Father for his son. But still there is the older brother who resents the party the father gives for his son. The work of reconciliation goes on and on.
These great words set the scene for what I see as the stage for sacred history. We're all under their authority. First the authority that God sets in our hearts for ourselves. We are to love ourselves as we'll as others. We are to love others as we do ourselves. Here is a lifetime's work for us.
Then there is my mission statement. I believe we are called to be a "House of Prayer for ALL People". ALL means all. Not just some. Throughout my lifetime, in just one short lifetime, the search for justice and peace has included civil rights, gender equality, and now we seek a way to include within the ever widening circles of compassion, the whole range of folks within the entire LGBTQ community.
All of this is challenging work. But from childhood, I have remembered the words above the great west doors of the national cathedral in Washington, "A House of Prayer for ALL People".
Here is a picture of that noble edifice. Here is a picture of what I have in mind; a place where all people without regard to race, ethnicity, class, gender or orientation can find a home with genuine warmth; a place where we can know and feel what it means to be forgiven, loved, where compassion is at the heart of things and where the work of reconciliation is central to its mission.
This is how I seek to rebuild my website. Stay tuned. We seek to relaunch by May Day. This should be fun. Thanks to you all for your encouragement throughout my ministry. It is a ministry we all share. I've been doing it for only 41 years. The work has been going on for thousands of years by all the host of heaven and earth.
Grace and Peace be to you all.