Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Milestone Blessing

Another Lee Valley, Black Hills, sacred ground, life-giving week… Another Black Hills 3 mile run!

In the mean time the rest of the team is busy in the midst of the Institute’s Milestones conference.

I appreciate the Milestones of birth, baptism, communion, even driver’s licenses and graduations. I also recognize that many of the most meaningful milestones I did not recognize until well after.

I remember well the official Bishop blessing that was given during a service for Dick, David and myself, a blessing of our ministry and work at The Youth & Family Institute. This particular blessing spoke kind words of Dick, of David, and… when he got to me I realized he really did not know me and made up words, at one point calling me one of the great “lone ranger” youth ministers of our time. “Lone Ranger!” I wanted to step forward and object. If anything the trade mark of my ministry has been the ability to equip and empower others. This particular blessing, meant to be a milestone, carried very little significance for me.

The days that followed took me to Chicago, where I was to speak for a youth gathering. On a walk down a street, a large, black woman, asking for $5 dollars, approached me. She gave me the story of her car breaking down and needing bus money. It was a good story, even believable, which is the art of the panhandlers. I have to admit it was not my nature to hand over money but for some reason I did. What followed was a hug, wrapped in her big arms, and a prayerful blessing. I wish I remembered the words. But this was significant.

I look back and realize now that my milestone blessing, the affirming of me, the affirming of ministry, was not to be the words of a Bishop, but were to be the words of women whose name I will never know, while on an unknown street in Chicago.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

The 4th

"The wonder of children is they see new things and beautiful things and take them in."
-Father Richard Rohr

Stop, listen, quiet, observe, breath - all good reminders for a person with long to-do lists. Happy fourth!