Perfection

Perfectly Loving

I always get a chuckle when someone asks me for my home email and I say bill at not-perfect-yet dot com" and they respond “perfect.” They don’t even hear themselves doing it. “Perfect” has entered into our modern vocabulary to replace “okay.”  This is truly ironic. Now putting aside this odd ambiguity, what does the Bible mean when it says, “No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us (1 John 4:12). We live in a world that is desperate for real love. When we engage, even momentarily, in an authentic, selfless, other-honoring relationship with another person, we allow them to see God in us. This is real perfection.

We live today in a world where our coffee is ground to perfectly identical grains, where our computer perfectly transmits our ill-conceived emails, and where our phones can perfectly tell us the time the sun will rise on this date in the year 2525 (if humankind survives that long). “Perfect” is possible for any product that doesn’t depend upon human input. We mortals regularly mess up coffee making, misspell emails, and often fail to rise in time to see the sun do its thing, perfectly. We also mess up love; the one thing we flawed creatures can do well which machines will never do at all.

Sunday, April 29, 2018
Easter 5

A Parable for Pastors

A certain young pastor came to Jesus and said, “Lord, I already know how to be saved. What I need to know is how to move on from this parish and find the situation that I really deserve.” And Jesus said, “Why do you call me Lord? I am not your bishop. Have you filed your statistical reports? Does your church pay all of its denominational askings, and have you organized every committee according to the rules you have received? Have you gone to all the workshops, visited all of the shut-ins, and said the invocation at the rotary each month? “All these I have done,” the young man said.

Lessons from a Dark Room

In the dark places of our lives, exhaustion gives way to self pity. Our desire to have the time and resources to accomplish what we want becomes a road block in the way of doing what we can. Our demand for always, as in, ‘he always should be there for me,’ or ‘she always forgives me this,’ or ‘I always get to have…,’ blinds us to current reality. We want our lives to be a perfect fairy tale and can’t adapt to the pervasive presence of mess in the story that God has cast us to act in. We no longer see the beauty in this chaotic moment of life, or the hope that lays beyond death.

Good Things in 2014

“How many of you are planning to make a New Year’s resolution?” I asked a congregation last week. Very few hands went up. I assume that most of the others had already obtained perfection. For me, New Year’s Eve and Day are a time of transition. The stores are closed, meetings are canceled, and I’m afraid to go out on the roads. It is a good time to reflect on what has been and what will be. Again, I made the resolution I only partly kept last year, to be a more loving person. By loving, I mean ‘in the moment,’ and present for the people I meet. I shouldn’t spew the garbage of my lousy day on others. I should be prepared to listen and hear what the person I am facing is concerned about. To be Christ-like, moment by moment, is my on going New Year’s resolution. This is what John Wesley was talking about when he asked the early Methodists to become ‘perfect in love.’  

 

Sunday, January 5, 2014
Christmas 2
New Years
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