Tag Archives: serving

Contemplating the Contemplative Path: Learning to Clap in Amazement

This weekend I attended a retreat on “Attentiveness” at Richmond Hill that was conducted by my friend Joy Heaton, who is working on her Doctorate in Ministry with a focus in spirituality.  During the retreat we looked at the poetry of Mary Oliver as a lens through which we could connect with the created world, and through the created world connect with the creator.  Mary Oliver claims her only call in life is to be amazed by the world, particularly nature.

My friend Joy put it this way, when we stop and notice the beauty of a flower or a butterfly or a tree, in a way we are stopping to clap for God.  This is a beautiful picture of worship.  As a part of the retreat we were given two hours to sit in the garden and clap.  Our assignment was simply to pray and ask God to get our attention and then to deeply focus on one thing and to notice whatever it was that God would have us notice.  In other words, we were to be open to being amazed.

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Filed under missional church, Theology

Giving Up on Serving the Poor

Over the years I have met many people who have said to me “I gave up on serving the poor” for a variety of reasons; they became too busy, they got burned, they did not feel like they were making a difference or did not feel like they were appreciated.  However, Claudio Oliver gives an even better reason in a post on the site  The Ooze titled “Why I stopped serving the poor”.  Below is a small excerpt from the post.  I encourage you to read the full article.

“I’ve given up on helping the poor, given up on serving and saving them. I have rediscovered a hard truth:

Jesus doesn’t have any good news for those who serve the poor. Jesus didn’t come to bring good news of the Kingdom to those who serve the poor; he brought Good News to the poor. He has nothing to say to other saviors who compete with him for the position of Messiah, or Redeemer.

God Shows Up in Our Need to Be Healed

Jesus’ agenda only brings a message for those who recognize themselves as poor, naked, hurt, tired, overburdened, needy and hopeless. As for the rest, his agenda has little or nothing to offer.

The only way to remain with the poor is if we discover that we are the miserable ones. We remain with the poor when we recognize ourselves, even if well disguised, in him/her who is right before our eyes. When we can see our own misery and poverty in them, when we realize our own needs and our desperate need to be saved and liberated, then and only then will we meet Jesus and live life according to His agenda.

God is not manifest in our ability to heal, but in our need to be healed. Finding out this weakness of ours leaves us in a position of having nothing to offer, serve, donate, but reveals our need to be loved, healed and restored.

Herein lies the meaning that the power within us is not the power of our strengths, abilities and wealth, but rather, in the power that is present in our personal misery, so well hidden and disguised in our possessions and false securities. As Jean Vanier says in a book I recently read. “We are called to discover that God can bring peace, compassion, and love through our wounds.”

I have given up on serving the poor. I’m going back to encountering the poor and finding myself in them. I have rediscovered my poverty. And with it I can cry out again: “Son of David, have mercy on me.

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Filed under Theology, Unity Works Reading, Urban Ministry