Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Up From Hell

The following "witness" was given at the Diocesan Convention in Great Falls, Montana. Teresa's presentation "electrified" the convention. I share it here with her permission.I hope some of these words may help another soul "on the way"
Fr Paul.

From Addiction to Freedom

My name is Teresa Scheie and I am proud and grateful member of St. James Episcopal Church in Bozeman. Freedom in Christ Ministries means a great deal to me because it would mean that more people like myself would be reached. 

Five years ago I was in the deepest darkest depths of hell addicted to heroin, prescription narcotic medication, and methamphetamine. I wanted so badly to either end my life or end the madness so I chose to pick up the phone and call alcohol and drugs services of Gallatin County. In october 2012, after 12 years of complete and utter madness I admitted myself to Rimrock treatment facility in Billings Montana. Due to some legal issues in July of 2013 I was incarcerated in Gallatin County. during my stay. 

One Monday morning I heard the guards announce "morning devotions" , and so without hesitation I went. I was surprised to finally get to meet a woman I had known of for years, The Reverend Roxanne Klingensmith. She had worked with several of my friends and those friends had successfully survived drug and alcohol addiction and went on with her mentorship to redeem their lives and completely turn themselves around. I came to Roxanne that morning in a state of surrender. 

I had had that God experience, so I had come to believe, but just didn't know where to go with it. Roxanne played a Rob Bell program that morning called Breathe. It was just what I needed to hear. I was fragile and vulnerable and in one breath Roxanne helped to put the Lord back into my broken soul. She helped me see that the Lord was living in me and that God was sanctifying me. She told me to forgive myself because God had already forgiven me. it was the first time I felt free in many long years. I asked if I could join her survivors group when I was released from jail so after 7 months I was released and she graciously accepted me. The rest is history! 

I have been attending Saint James for two years this will be my third year. I was confirmed by our Bishop, the Rt. Reverend Franklin Brookhart on July 24th of this year. I get to do many great things with the church. It is my calling.

I  am alive and well completely; body and souly by the grace of God. All the guilt and shame from my past. All the wrong that I did has been forgiven. With the help of the clergy and the many wonderful people at Saint James, they taught me to ask God's forgiveness and know that I am forgiven, to pray for help to make it through each day, not in regret of the past, but thankful for the opportunity to make a change in my life.  I realize that I am God's miracle and have the rest of my life to let God work through me to reach others. Thank you and God Bless! 

Sunday, October 02, 2016

A Prayer for James

I Gave My Heart

The Sacred Journey brought us together for Jimmy's funeral. I was more than a priest yesterday. I gave my heart to my family. I shared my faith. As we stood at the graveside I took a handful of sandy soil and made the sign of the cross and read the appointed words and paused as the Spirit moved in our hearts and the wind blew through the trees.

I have always loved these stirring words of faith from the Book of Job.

I am the resurrection and the life, saith the Lord;
he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live;
and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.
I know that my Redeemer liveth,
and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth;
and though this body be destroyed, yet shall I see God;
whom I shall see for myself and mine eyes shall behold,
and not as a stranger.
For none of us liveth to himself,
and no man dieth to himself.
For if we live, we live unto the Lord.
and if we die, we die unto the Lord.
Whether we live, therefore, or die, we are the Lord's.
Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord;
even so saith the Spirit, for they rest from their labors.

And then there were the words from Isaiah; a vision of the Messianic Banquet. Our family loves a good Thanksgiving feed. What family doesn't? Imagine God's Banquet Table.

Isaiah 25:6-9

On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples 
a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wines, 
of rich food filled with marrow, of well-aged wines strained clear. 
And he will destroy on this mountain 
the shroud that is cast over all peoples, 
the sheet that is spread over all nations; 
he will swallow up death forever. 
Then the Lord GOD will wipe away the tears from all faces, 
and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth, 
for the LORD has spoken. 
It will be said on that day, 
Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, so that he might save us. 
This is the LORD for whom we have waited; 
let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.
Then I shared what I had crafted by way of a Prayer for James.

A Prayer for Jimmie

Gathered here today we bring before You all the things we do not and cannot understand,
And we remember that moment of Grace when in the last moments of Your life, You stretched out your arms of love on the hard wood of the cross so that everyone might come within the reach of Your saving embrace,
And even in those last moments of despair and abandonment you were able to say;
“Forgive them Father, they just don’t know what they are doing!”
Now we commend Jimmie to Your never failing love
Knowing that You wipe away the sin and sorrow of his heart and ours.
Knowing that You are wiping away the tears from his eyes and ours,
Knowing that You are doing better things for him and us than we can desire or even pray for.
This is the reason for our faith and our enduring love.
And we press on the best way we know how, doing the work that God has given us to do; to care for and love one another
In the Name of Jesus Christ we pray.

I asked for God's blessing on us all.
We gathered then at the Town Hall.
There were lots of people to greet. 

And then home again.

Such is the Sacred Journey the Holy Pilgrimage we are on.
Toward you.
Bless us we pray in every step we take.


Fr Paul