(Homily I offered on Sunday, April 26th, 2009, at the Time for JOY retreat, Camp Mitchell. The theme of the weekend was “Birthing the Woman Within.” I’m sorry that I can’t invoke the waves of emotion, the movement of Spirit here that was present at the mountain chapel. Thanks be to all.)
I love that Time for JOY is during the Easter season. Now is a time when we are still new in the remembered contemplation and sacrifice of Christ; our alleluias are still fresh.
This JOY weekend, I’ve talked mostly about the Yourself of J.O.Y. For the full JOY, we also need Jesus and Others. In our daily lives, we are pretty well-trained. We’re good girls when it comes to helping out when needed . . . as long as it’s for someone else. We focus so much on You here at JOY because you are more likely to neglect yourself than others, but you have to remember that the better cared-for you are, the better the quality of service you provide.
And Jesus? Well, if we’re not likely to care for ourselves, how much more likely are we to spend precious time on someone who doesn’t seem to play an active role in daily life?
Therein lies the rub.
We are sisters in Christ. We are daughters of God. There’s a suffering Jesus endured for us to show us true peace. There’s the spark within us that is also of God, of Christ. Our seed of potential and purpose is none other than that which exists in Jesus, of God. The potential remains in each of us to live fully as a child of God, but how willing are we to step forth and call God ours? How willing are we to see the risen Christ in each other? How willing are we to believe in miracles? Would we have been any less disbelieving and wondering in the presence of the resurrected Lord?
The woman you’ve been coaxing out of hiding is “the deep root of your being,” your inner Jesus, the one willing to claim God, the one that is Whole, the One. In our human form, our best is to love others as we love ourselves, but only if we know who we really are. Given a purpose to Love, we are also given talents and gifts with which to do this. There are ways our seemingly trivial work creates more positive energy in the Universe, thus creating more love. Don’t ask me to explain it because I don’t understand it, but it works. So what brings us joy is important. We have our thread in the beautiful cosmic tapestry. To know ourselves is crucial, tantamount to Love. When we know, feel and trust the love of God within, then truthfully we can witness to others as we extend the blessing of Christ that “peace be with you.” It’s not solely about the fact that Jesus died. I tell my kids Jesus is in their heart. He’s in mine and yours, too. It’s about life — living and loving.
Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori reminds us of our responsibility. “We’re meant to be heralds of resurrecion to a world that still thinks death is the last word.”
Birth is an everyday miracle. I believe in miracles.