We were standing in the Sacramento train station waiting for our train to Reno. Not counting Disneyland or Knott’s Berry Farm, I had never ridden a train. It was a 5-day get-away that offered us a break from stifling humdrum. We were with my cousin and his wife and were busily chatting about the joys that lay ahead. Suddenly, through a crowd of standing passengers all waiting for their train, like peering through a clump of trees, I saw her.
We are surrounded by communities. Our church, our friends, our family, our coworkers. These communities often intersect, and each has the ability to uplift us or destroy us. When we’re going through a difficult time, our communities can serve a vital role in helping us make it through.
So why is it that so often, when people are hurting the most, we shy away from the one community that should have the greatest capacity for seeing us through: the church? What should be our first line of defense against the pain of this world often turns into a battlefield all its own.
Growing up a good Seventh-day Adventist girl, the closest I got to dancing was twirling around the house on Friday afternoons with the dust rag to “Kitten on the Keys.” The jazz piano solo was the perfect background for Sabbath preparations and made the chores go twice as fast. I never wished for more, beyond daydreaming of being Clara in the Nutcracker Suite.
The importance of little things is not to be underestimated.
“Not all of us can do great things,” said Mother Teresa, “but we can do small things with great love.”
Probably many of us (at least from my generation) remember this poem from early school days:
“For want of a nail, the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe, the horse was lost.
Read Ken Curtis' first two articles in this series, A Fictitious Conversation: Listening for God in the Other and Continuing a Fictitious Conversation: Lectio Divina.
Luke, in the fifteenth chapter of his self-named gospel, shares three parables (The Lost Sheep, The Lost Coin, and The Prodigal Son) where Jesus gives a clear indication that our Father in heaven is anxious — anxious to seek and to save! This is God’s modus operandi.
But is that all? God seeks. God saves. Done deal? How do I fit into the picture?
This interview appeared in "Transgression," a recent edition of the journal Oneing, published by the Rohr Institute.
Joelle Chase: Perhaps we could begin by talking about some of the ways in which you have transgressed, Cynthia! For example, your book on Mary Magdalene delves deep into a topic that has been taboo in many Christian circles. What has it been like for you to break the silence, to transgress some religious norms?
“Pan de vida, cuerpo del Señor,” our tiny choir sang, our third grade voices filling St. Basil’s Catholic Church. The congregation sang the next part: “Cup of Blessing, blood of Christ the Lord.” I could see my mother and sister standing side-by-side in the front row, singing along. To my left, Father Dan was beginning to rise. It was his turn to sing.