All Are Called: Ruth Perkinson

Date preached: 
Jul-16-2017

We reap what we sow --- and our journey back to God and with God is through our words. We sow the seed of our word into ourselves and into each other and into the collective Body of Christ. The word is reflected by extending and sharing true forgiveness and love to everyone.

We are all called.

All are called, however, as the lesson teaches us today, few actually answer. Jesus illustrates this using the metaphor of scattering the seed --- the word---it will go unheard by those unwilling or those not listening. Some may get it for a time or two but it will not develop or take hold. Others will try but then the word will be choked out by more important things -- like the to-do list of life: household chores, 8-hour work days, the unending day-to-day care for our bodies --  or just the everyday routine of a hundred things to think and do...but all without God.

And then it might finally dawn on some of us that God is every day and all day. The Holy Spirit is every day and all day. Jesus is every day and all day. Really what else is there to do but to answer the call.

It took me many, many years to understand that Jesus and the Holy Spirit and God were calling me home. 

I spent many Sundays for many years at a bar. I drank way too much for way too long and all of it was a substitute for God. I smoked cigarettes and drank margaritas or Bloody Mary’s and had conversations on poetry and the great novels of the world.

I spent many years thinking that the world was a very flawed place and that I couldn't do a thing to fix it. Even today as I point my head and look at what is just two hours north of here, I sometimes shake my head in disbelief that our political landscape still cannot heal. I still shake my head that our major religions still struggle to be right rather than happy. I still struggle with all of that and more.

For the last five years, however, I have come to understand that the Unity of Truth and the idea of true forgiveness and a shared experience of love is the only way for us to find inner peace.

I have been learning this through many hours spent with the Bible many hours spent with a text called A Course in Miracles and many hours praying for the forgiveness of the world. What I have come to understand through all of my learning is that it is up to me as it is up to you to listen -- to reflect -- and to carry the word into the world. It is up to me to forgive my brothers and sisters. Not in the old subject-object Newtonian way of forgiveness where they are still held hostage to the story. But in a kind of quantum forgiveness way where I still see them as my brother or sister in Christ even if they screw up. To forgive them for all of it --- everything.

Two months ago, I had to do some forgiving and it's this shared lesson of forgiveness that I think has been extra hard this year in a myriad of forgiveness lessons.

My father's second cousin had passed away from cancer and my whole family had to travel to Lawrenceville, Virginia for the funeral. 

Because of my visual impairment, I have been using a stick this year to get around. It is helpful especially when I'm unfamiliar with an area. I have a terrible time with shadows and sun light and if ground is uneven I need it to step almost each step.

At the graveside, I used the stick to help support me and guide me. I am sure that people looking at me may have felt a bit of pity or they may have felt glad that it wasn't them. I understand that. People sometimes are unsure of handicaps. We’ve all been there --- and handicaps come in many forms whether it is a physical disability or someone with a mental handicap or a special need. 

My opportunity for forgiveness came the next evening at dinner in a local restaurant.

And I will tell you it was uneasy because I did not expect any of it.

My brother - who is a bit older than I am and is prone to drink more than necessary – had a moment where he decided I would be the target of some unsuspecting and highly unfortunate folly.

As I sat there among my family and a few friends at dinner he began to mock my use of the stick from the day before. He began to make stick gestures in the air and fake stabbing the floor around him – poking fun of how I had looked in the cemetery. He then poked fun at how I have to hold my cell phone close to my face to see and he laughed every single time he brought it up.

He even added uncomfortable sounds like I also had an IQ disability. I won't burble them out here. Then as an endcap to the folly affair, he would look at me as if I thought it was funny and then laugh – loud and proud.

Every 7 to 10 minutes this mocking of my use of the stick and how I have to hold a phone close to my eyes continued ad nauseam. Prior to leaving, a large part of me wanted to take my stick and like whack-a-mole, hit him over the head for every salacious mockery he had come up with. 

Two hours later, however, I was home and in tears.

Luckily, my wife Heather is one beautiful human being. 

She sat next to me and we prayed. We prayed for true forgiveness for him – not in the old Newtonian subject-object form...where he stays stuck as the hostage of his mistakes and me as the innocent victim.  Instead, we prayed for the idea of quantum forgiveness which means he is still my brother in Christ no matter what I perceive his errors to be. 
For about ten minutes, we entered into a powerful prayer that has assisted me from time to time. We literally joined with Jesus in our minds and imagined him and my brother in the living room with us.

We asked for this in that creative prayer – to remind us ALL that we are all spirits, whole and innocent, all is forgiven and released. I told my brother in that prayer that I loved him.  This shared idea of love and forgiveness not only releases him -- my brother -- from the bondage of holding on to that story, but it releases me from keeping it as a hurt to my heart for the rest of my life.

Prayer is the medium of miracles. The miracle is the healing that the forgiveness brings. Then I put my trust in God. The next day when I got to work, I sat at my desk and I was, honestly, still a bit shaken by the events from the night before.

I decided I would write him an email but before I did, I had to make sure that I forgave him again and then asked for all intentions of kindness to light my words in a way that would get through to him.

I sent him a very short note and told him my feelings had been hurt and that people with disabilities get their feelings hurt when people make fun of them. I was still asking for the prayers to heal.

 An hour later, he called and apologized. He told me he thought I was having fun with it, too. He admitted he had no idea he was hurting my feelings. It was a quick call as my brother is not one to talk on the phone.

The following Sunday was Mother's Day. My sister called me the Friday before and asked if I was still going to come. She had been at the dinner, too. I told her I was coming. I told her that I had talked to my brother.

When I saw him on Sunday . . .  I walked up to him and hugged him and pushed the sunglasses off his head and kissed him on the temple near his eyes. Sometimes we are blinded by the things we think and say because we don't know what it is we are saying. Sometimes we are blinded because we are asleep to the feelings of others.

Sometimes we are blinded because we don't consider the effects of our words.

He put his arms around my neck and gave me half of a hug. It was the best he could do. 

I know in my lifetime that I have ---without knowing it -- said things that hurt people and done things that have hurt people. From time to time, I have been hurtful and negative and unrelenting in some of the unkindnesses  I myself have bestowed.

The most powerful thing I can do to change all of that is to forgive every unloving thought I've ever had.

To forgive every unloving situation I've ever been in. I am just like my brother. To forgive him and drop the story is to also forgive me.

We reap what we sow. we are all in the collective Body of Christ. No one is left out. The fruit of our true forgiveness and our shared love is that when we transition from this world to the next. We meet each other on the plane of love -- a healed world where all of our judgments are gone and all of our Loving Thoughts are there-- kept as a blessing and purified of all their errors by God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

All are called to bear witness to trust, honesty, tolerance, gentleness, joy, defenselessness, patience, generosity, faithfulness, and open-mindedness.

These are the ideas – the seeds – the words of God that we are all called to choose, reflect, reveal and deliver.

All are called. All are called. All are called.

Amen.

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