Trees are huge failures; and, probably, so are you, beeches. That’s okay. Life is a struggle in which we try to love ourselves, love others, and love God, and often fall short of the mark. We can be paralyzed by shame, or we can let grace in and compassion stir us to action once more. Kris explores water into wine and Jesus flippin’ tables in John 2:13-22 through the lens of the Tree Lottery, Twitter wisdom, and a prayer from God. See links below for more info from the episode.
Kris in in the middle of a Lenten sermon series which combines the wisdom of two books: The Hidden Life of Trees and The Road Back to You, which describes a self-examination and development tool called the enneagram.
To follow self-proclaimed “Pittsburgh’s okayest priest” Father Anthony Sciarappa, check him out on Twitter: @FatherSciarappa.
My Dear One,
As I walk with you I see your weariness. I know even bearing love to the world is hard work, and sometimes the joy gets worn down. I know there are days when it seems you are no good at what you do, or no one wants to receive what you offer. There are times it is clear your work has not changed anything. Times when your prayers are arrows that fall two feet from the bow. Times you think of quitting, not trying, not caring. Times of discouragement and self-doubt. I know what you feel. Because I am with you and in you I’ve felt that, and I’ve been at this forever.
But trust this: you have not failed. You have been present, and I have been present with you. That’s all that matters. I want you to know you have done good work, and also that the work doesn’t matter. You have been present. That is enough. What more do I myself do than be present and shine my light that few see? You are my creation, perfectly redeemed, and that is enough. You don’t need to have given an offering. Jesus has shut down that temple.
In your presence, your trying, even your weak, fruitless attempts at love, even your feeblest shot at trying to pay attention, I have been present. My grace has been at work. People may fail to see it, and many resist it, and you yourself may doubt it. But it is there. I live and work among the unseen. Seeds sprout underground. Stories are told whose endings—happy endings—occur only later and far away. A single stone contributes to a mountain the stone can never know.
My Beloved, even in your discouragement I want you to hear my joy. You are a sparkling thread in my tapestry of the universe. Don’t disparage yourself for not seeing what only I can see. I have imbued you with my grace, unseen even to you. You have given gifts you can never measure. In the end you don’t give an offering. You are an offering. You have been present. That matters to me. I thank you. You will be present. That gives me hope. Let go of the outcome, forego judgment, and take courage. You are my child, my Beloved, in whom I am delighted. Be yourself, and let the universe be blessed.
—March 1, 2018