Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Hello there!!! It is me I am here! and Text from my senior sermon

Hi everyone, I am sorry for the late very late update; I am back in California after a very full summer. I returned back to Minnesota in May and spent some wonderful time with Matthew and the pugs, as well as seeing many of you. While I was in Minnesota I was also ordained to the diaconate. It was an absolutely wonderful service and I am so thankful to all of you for your prayers love and support!

 A picture with The Rev. Alan Grant one of my favorite mentors

I quickly then returned back to California to be a Teaching Assistant for two classes during our Anglican Immersion summer school.  It was an amazing experience to be able to be on the other side of the classroom as well as being able to help plan liturgies and work as the sacristan for the classes.  It was two weeks of very long days but it was a wonderful experience. 

I have been working as a deacon in a few different communities and it has been so much fun.  I am now back in classes and it is time to switch back to the "student mode".  

Today I gave my senior sermon at CDSP, I was very apprehensive to be preaching not only my senior sermon infront of my peers and my professors but there was the element of September 11.  Below is the text of my sermon.  I will try to get more postings out there to let you know what I am doing.

Thank you all so much for your love and support!  

The Rev. Jason Lucas

Senior Sermon--The Rev. Jason Bryan Lucas
Church Divinity School of the Pacific September 11, 2012
All Saint’s Chapel
Genesis 8:12-17, 20-22; Hebrews 4:12-16; Luke 23:32-43

I was asleep and heard a pounding at my door; it was my friend from down the hall yelling at me that we were “under attack!” I went and answered the door and had no idea what was happening. We ran down to the TV lounge and watched the news we watched in awe as we saw billows of smoke coming out of one of the Twin Towers. I sat and watched in terror, I saw people who were bloody, covered in dust, panicked, confused and terrified. I sat and did not leave watching the news for over 6 hours; I kept asking myself who would do this to us? My friend who was sitting with me kept saying “we need to get them back this is not going to stand we will get them back!”

Watching and listening to the events that occurred on September 11th I realized that our country and world had changed, we could never go back to the way things where. We saw many in this country coming together to pray, to console each other; to stand as Americans TOGETHER! But following the event the divisions started to occur, our united country started to divide, as there were discussions about if we should go to war, what should be the response from the United States. We have seen these divisions being played out in our country and even our world in many ways.

We are here to remember the lives of those who died in the September 11th tragedy but it is just more than remembering the lives but it is looking at the world in a different light. We live in a world we self-identify as progressives, traditionalist, liberals, conservatives, Roman Catholic, Episcopalian, Jewish, Muslim; we use these identities to show the world who we are and we surround ourselves with like minded people, because it is safe and comfortable. No matter how comfortable we feel these labels put us into silos. From within our own silos we are able to observe that the other silos contain people that are different than us; we disagree with their ideologies, their way of thinking, how they pray, among other things. Soon we begin to step back from them further and further until our disagreements turn ugly. We are seeing these divisions playing out in very difficult and sometimes terrifying way. We are see mudslinging in elections, wanting to exclude others from being part of community with us, no longer wanting to break bread, to stand up and walk away from the table rather than have a conversation and dialogue. Turn on the news and watch the current political debate we are inundated with hearing how one party is right and how the other is wrong, how if you vote this way every will be ok; see how there was so much tension in our own Church during General Convention. We are spending time focusing on how we are different than the “other” group of people and how they are wrong with us. But I think it is time for a new way; what we are experiencing in the world is not working. I am not sure about you but I am praying for a change. That is why when I was working with the group planning this liturgy it was suggested that we look at the proper’s for Reconciliation and Forgiveness. These are two concepts that we talk a lot about in the church and in our lives but they are very difficult ones to put into practice.

As humans when someone hurts us it is very easy to stay angry with the person that hurt us and to put them in a silo that we will not engage with; we are quick to say, “I don’t want to deal with that person because they hurt me.” It is easier to stay away then tell the person directly how their actions affected us. I dream of a world where instead of quickly writing someone or a group of people off for hurting us we first looked at them as Children of God. In this world, we would look at each other as being a gift from God even if they are, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Roman Catholic, Episcopalian, or anything else that is different to who we are. It is not until we can see each other as children of God that reconciliation can be accomplished. So how can we make this dream a reality? Recently, I was sitting with a fellow student talking about this and that when she shared a meditation that she uses in her life. It is a meditation called Ho'oponopono. Maybe you are familiar with it. It has been sitting in the back of my mind as I left her room. The mediation is, “I am sorry, please forgive me, I love you, thank you.”[1] This simple meditation brings with it a very powerful message; the words contained in this mediation are some of the most difficult words that we can ever say; to admit to another person that we have hurt them; then to ask for forgiveness. To see them as a child of God and to share with them that we Love them for who they are and finally to thank them not only helps to bring true reconciliation but opens up a dialogue between people that have shared great division.

In the Gospel today we hear of the criminals that were crucified with Jesus; one of them is asking Jesus to save them from what is happening while the other one turns and says, “and we indeed have been condemned justly.”[2] The criminal in his own way is offering an apology and acknowledgement of the wrongs he had done. He asks Jesus to remember him when he comes into his Kingdom. Jesus’ response to the second criminal is one that showed that he had made his reconciliation with God and with Jesus.

Let us remember the words of the opening collect, “give us the grace to make peace with those from whom we are divided, that, forgiven and forgiving, we may ever be one in Christ.”[3] This collect reminds us that in order to work on reconciliation with each other we need to ask for the grace to enter into it.

We as Christians talk about being the body of Christ, but the silos and divisions that we live in are breaking apart the body of Christ. Disagreement within the Body of Christ will occur but at the end of the day we need to know that we need the people on the other side of the table. Even if we disagree with them they are apart of the same body of Christ that we are. A body that is divided is one that can not live.

For many in this chapel today, we are preparing to enter into leadership positions in the Church as such we are being called to teach and preach the word of God. When Jesus was teaching the things he was saying he made people uncomfortable and I am sure that some of the things that I have said today have made some uncomfortable, but there are times in our lives where we are called to be uncomfortable and it is in this uncomfortable place we are able to grow as Christians and in our relationships with each other. So I challenge each of us in this chapel today to try to live our lives in a way that each of us putting aside the labels that we have put on ourselves, to break down the walls of silos we have put around us and to see people as what they are Children of God! This will not be easy this will take changing a lot of our habits and biases that we have. In the words of the Ho’oponopono mediation and I say to you, the community that I have come to love and learn from in these years in seminary, I am sorry, Please Forgive me, I love you, thank you. May God give us the grace to strive for reconciliation and of Peace.

[1] Ho'oponopono mediation retrieved September 10, 2012 from http://www.thereisaway.org/Ho%27oponopono_cleaning_meditation.htm

[2] Luke 23:41

[3] Holy Women Holy Men, p. 737