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If you wish to encounter God, touch another person

by davesandel on May 14th, 2021

Friday, May 14, 2021                          (today’s lectionary)

If you wish to encounter God, touch another person

You, Lord, know the hearts of all.

We are sitting in the Illinois sun, basking in the afternoon paradise of our back yard which is suddenly blooming with grass (and weeds) now that the chickens have gone their own way. Jesus tells us, “Go and sin no more.”

What do you mean by that, Jesus?

I don’t mean the sins on the outside of your cup. Like gossiping and lust. I also don’t mean the sins on the inside of your cup. Like shame and pride.

Help me. What do you mean, then?

Can I say it in positives first? Go, each of you, go and be grateful at all times. Fill your lives with praise. Be generous with all you have. Let me lead you, and I will make your path straight.

And if we don’t?

Yes. That’s the point. Because you won’t. Not all the time. So the SIN happens when you don’t think you don’t need me to confess to, when you think I’ll turn away, when you keep your secrets from me. Remember that I see you clearly, even when you close your own eyes.

I think of the little boy who comes to me for cuddles. (Each of us, sitting in the springtime sun, has one of those little boys.) When I touch him, I am touched by God. My shame and pride melt away like candles in the night. God recognizes my remembrance.

This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this. You are my friends if you do this.

And now that you’re sitting here, springtime in the Garden of Eden, here’s another chance for you to get out from under the leaves of the forbidden tree. In this moment you know what you can know, and you let go of trying to know what you cannot.

What? Does that mean?

Just that you have the power to know me when you touch another person, but everything else is up to me. Freeing you from sin is up to me. You cannot do that on your own. Let me be God, OK?

Let You do Your Job.

Well, yes.

We took turns in our confessions, then. My friend shadowed me after I became senseless from too much 151 proof rum but didn’t have the good sense to fall asleep. Instead I made endless noise and tore down curtains. My future spouse held my head while I threw up drunk. My mom stood up for me when her community thought I was beyond help. My dad went to court with me. Twice.

I chose you from the world to go and bear fruit that will last, says the Lord.

And, my dear children, don’t forget that your parents are my children too. Every time they touch you, they are touched by me. I love them so much. But, just like you, they can’t stop their own sin. All they could do is touch you. And they did.

I remember my joy when I heard Richard Rohr say, “Think of the most loving person you know, and then be certain that God is more loving than that.” HIs forgiveness never ends.

From the rising to the setting of the sun is the name of the Lord to be praised!

(Acts 1, Psalm 113, John 15)

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