Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Wings and a prayer.......

On Sunday at Holy Innocents Parish in Lahaina, Maui, the sermon dwelt in large part about relational issues between compassion and anger. As I thought about why those words felt so "right", I realized that in feeling compassion for someone or some group of persons, one cannot help but also be filled by a sense of anger; anger for how we see others patronizing or maligning a given group, and self-anger in recognizing that the downtrodden of this world are not entirely rendered useless by others' faults, but very possibly by our own actions in denying the burdens and responsibilities that we as fellow human beings and children of God all bear for others.

In the Christian tradition, we have work that we have been given to do as disciples - some of that work is to bring about justice for those less fortunate than we are ourselves, those for whom we feel compassion; but often it seems we must "go" to anger before we are moved to action.

Compassion is worth study and reflection - are we/aren't we, why/why not, can we learn to recognize/feel compassion and move forward with action to erase what we consider an injustice without the often logical but sometimes just time-wasting reaction of anger? Can we recognize anger as important in its work as catalyst, while at the same time learning to sidestep that emotion and move right into the justice of lessening a burden, lending a hand, walking beside those for whom we feel compassion?

Believing that we have all been endowed with the virtue of compassion, it seems to me that by placing anger in the appropriate context one may more easily recognize the tasks, large or small on behalf of others, that one has been called to do.

Rambling thoughts provoked by the priest's sermon are my own based upon an eloquent, cogent sermon. The priest might wonder if I got the point at all - then again, might think that I took to heart the words he said about compassion, anger, justice and about our having the power to truly make changes in this world - to save ourselves, our planet, and each other.

You may have read before in a post or two that I'm NEVER sorry that I've been to church on a Sunday. I believe that each priest has a message and many of those messages do come straight from God. The priest recites the message in the best way he or she knows how perhaps not ever really knowing if anyone has listened or not......and only perhaps praying that what he/she was trying to deliver fell upon ears that were listening. This week's sermon? I believe I heard the words and better yet however he delivered the sermon, I received a message!

How about you - you weren't there, you didn't hear the words - I pray you received some message by my telling of the telling.......

Photo by SS - Wings by Susanna - little "work of art" in front of Holy Innocents Parish - Maui


  1. So many sermons from my youth were so dry, namely about the apostles, and I admit that I tuned out after a while. Maybe I hadn't lived as an adult long enough to understand what the minister was saying...? On the other hand my favourite services were those given by people - not necessarily ministers - who were able to make connections between the Bible and their own personal lives.

    It sounds like this priest knew how to connect the ancient holy book to a contemporary world. And his message of the relationship between compassion and anger is a good one.

  2. Susanna, I rec'd your email this a.m. commenting about my "winged angel" in the front of Holy Innocents - glad you liked it.

    Yes, I agree that sermons from childhood are often those we recall vividly because there seemed to be no effort to reach our bright little spongey minds - a lot of children/people turned away from any sort of spiritual discernment in their lives for just that reason.

    Having worshiped as an Episcopalian for way longer than you are old:)...I've found that many Episcopal priests are gifted with connecting the gospel to the reality of life and how it sucks from time to time. Father Bill is one of those priests - it may come from his joining the priesthood after a full life as an attorney in NYC. He's experienced life at its fullest and at its crummiest! Finding one of these guys or gals (as the case may be - we found a Lutheran Pastor, Suzan, in Portland last week) is certainly an easier way to the discernment of what one is called in life to do - you've obviously discovered your talent as photographer, writer, artist - try an Episcopal church sometime - you never know what else might be in store for you:).....whoops, that turned into a sermon didn't it?

    Thanks again for the "wings" - they are joyfully enjoying Maui. Aloha!