Friday, July 10, 2009

Out in the Desert

"At once the Spirit sent him out into the desert, and he was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals and the angels attended him." Mark 1"12-13

I arrived midday yesterday in Anaheim, the home of Disneyland and Mickey Mouse. Close to the Pacific Ocean, the climate here is warm and dry -somewhat like a desert. I don't know if the spirit sent me here, but there are plenty of temptations for forty days worth. It is a blessing that General Convention lasts only a few weeks and that I will only be here four days. There are no wild animals here exactly, but there is a great deal of animal instinct that guides our politics and deliberations. Where there is power and decisions to be made, there comes always temptation and competition.

I have been blessed since arriving here, to be met by friends from all over - people from all walks of life who come to Convention to be connected joyously with the larger church. It is all too easy at any large church gathering to see the challenges and temptations. I would rather celebrate the people and angels God has blessed me with throughout my ministry. I pray that today we can all see beyond the primal competition to the love we have been so richly blessed with as we gather with others from across the church.

Dear God, you pronounced love and pleasure on Jesus at his baptism.
Help us remember you have said they same to us.
Help us to know our wildernesses as full of angels.
Give us us to see your sparks of love in friend and stranger alike.
Bless us with joy in our temptations that they may lead to a deeper
and more complete trust in you.

We are lost without you, but you have promised to be with us,
even to the ends of the earth.

Visit us this day with love and forbearance so that in our trials
we might become a blessing for the whole church.

We ask this all in Christ's name, Amen.

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