Sunday, 7 June 2009

I am what I am

Opening Prayer

Here I am Lord,
Listening
Speak to me
within my heart and soul.
I am listening.

1 Corinthians 15:10


‘By the grace of God I am what I am’

Reflection

I have a friend, who having read this, would probably burst into song.

‘I am what I am’, a song from the musical La Cage aux Folles’ has become a bit of an anthem for marginalised communities, people declaring themselves proud of who they are – exactly as they are - warts and all – despite the criticism of others.

In a world of stereotypes and peer pressure it is not easy to be the odd one out; even if there is a few of you! The pain of being outcast has never changed over the thousands of years that humanity has existed - in fact it has always been the most severe punishment you could suffer, worse than death – a living death.

So why did those early followers do it?

Why did Paul; who had seen and been deeply involved in the ‘casting out’? Why did all the other named and nameless disciples.

Tiny communities living right across the continent; different religions by this time; different cultures: people outcast by their families and communities because of Jesus and yet these people had never met Jesus; never heard his message until Paul and the other evangelists spoke to them – and then – they were transformed.

The practicalities of being God made Man, meant that Jesus was never going to get far – physically. But his message was for the world and that message was spread through the outpouring of Grace that Jesus gave his life for and that he sent out on the wings of the Holy Spirit. Grace that travelled through the mouths of the disciples; that sent them spinning across the country to those that had ears to hear and brought them to the Father; to the Kingdom; away from the world. We are nearing the feast of Pentecost; a feast closely associated with the Sacrament of Confirmation – a time, perhaps, for all of us to stand up and say ‘By the grace of God I am what I am’


Contemplation
Who made you?

This is one of the questions from the catechism (God made me).
Next question is ‘why did God make you?’ and the long answer is very lovely but the short answer, I think, is better:
‘Because He wanted to.’

We always think of the best bits of us as being by the ‘Grace of God’, but it is all Grace, there is no judgement from God. As the Creation story says – God gets to the end of His week and sees that it is ‘Very Good’. We are all very good.

If you have problems looking in a mirror and saying that to yourself then you are looking at the world’s version of you.

Try closing your eyes and taking the quiet and contemplative path to the Sacred Space within –
the place of Grace and Blessing –
to see the child that God holds in the palm of his hand.
‘Very good’

With the knowledge that because of that Grace we are able
to be a part of God’s own Holy Name
I am what I am


Closing Prayer
May the blessing of the Sacred Three
The Father who gave us the Word
The Son who is the Word
The Spirit who opens the Word within us
Be with us today and evermore.
Amen

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