Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Expanding our boundaries

This past weekend , on Saturday, I had the opportunity to work with a parish on the theme "Expanding our Spiritual Boundaries." Sunday I was the preacher, and the text was Jesus' call of his disciples. We heard in the Scriptures how the men left their boats, their families, and followed Jesus. They expanded their boundaries. How do we expand our boundaries and respond to the call of Jesus in our day? I can think of three ways, and I could probably think of more. First, seek go be in relationship with people. As my friend Bishop Cathy Roskam, suffragan bishop of New York says: "relationship is converting." People find it harder to dismiss other people with whom they have a personal relationship. And the more people we know, the more complex our understanding of the world. Friendships were the basis for Jesus' ministry; he became friends with the prostitutes and tax collectors. It is clear to me that we are called to to friendship outside our comfort zone and these relationships wil open up new opportunities for serving Christ in all persons.

Another way to expand our boundaries is to say "yes" when ever we are called upon to help. In this way I have stumbled upon some extraordinary ministry opportunities. They always seem to come out of left field. When my friend Matilde asked me if the migrant workers could meet at Little Portion, I said yes, and over the years the brothers have become deeply involved and had many wonderful friendships with the workers. Of course there are times when we need to say "no" because we are exhausted or the situation won't work for any number of reasons. But I find the general practice of saying yes has radically transformed my sense of what I can do, and the ministry God is calling me to follow.

A third way is to read, study, think! I am a great believer in reading any and everything I can get my hands on, and reading helps us to test our categories, can challenge our assumptions and provide new framework for on-going reflection on our experiences. It isn't cheating to read what other people think about the Scriptures, or social concerns or relationships!

The thing which constricts my boundaries, create an invisible fence around my life is fear. When ever I feel zapped by fright or anxiety I remember what an old priest in Seattle WA said tome when I was 20 years old: "Clark hold tight to Christ and hang loose in the world." Still good words to live by.

1 comment:

nancy said...

Hello Clark! This is Nancy.. from the little Portion Friary., and Pt Jeff.., meets