Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Even though the Nats are in first place (what what), they lost on Friday when I was at the game.  Back in the lean, painful years of 2005-2011, John Brewer used to say I cursed the Nats with my presence.  Perhaps for the Nats sake it is best I watch from a distance on MASN, a la Sting's "I'll be Watching You."
As I walked to my car in sadness on Friday night, I was encouraged by a most welcome sign.  At a Catholic Church just a block from the stadium, this invitation was issued: 
Photo borrowed from @catholicgauze.  Edited by moi.
#NatsMass gives Catholics an opportunity to worship while they're on the way to the baseball game on Sunday afternoons.  I like it.  Way to go St. Vincent De Paul!
I was not in on the committee meetings when they decided to start this new service, but here's what the church could have done when the stadium was built a few years ago:  Thrown up their hands in frustration!  Complained about the construction and noise!  Looked in judgment at all those people skipping worship for baseball!  
That's what the church could have done when everything around them was changing.
Here's what the church did instead:  Added a service to accomodate Catholics on their way to the baseball game!  Spent $$ designing a big banner invitation to thousands!  Launched a social media campaign (#NatsMass) so folks would be welcomed.
There are many ways to respond to change.  #NatsMass is a good way.
How do most of our churches react when everything around us changes?  Do we respond with complaints and anger?  Or do we respond by spending time and $$ to reach folks in a creative way?

Since we're talking sports, I know many pastors and church folk are frustrated when youth games are scheduled on Sundays & Wednesdays.  And all sports are year round now.  I have been frustrated too. 
It wasn't like that when I was growing up.  My dad was often the coach and our practices on Wednesday nights followed GAs and children's & adult choirs.  I miss those days.
But those days aren't today.  They aren't.  And bellyachin' won't help, friends.  Many have tried that method.  It doesn't work. 
We can kick and scream...or we can be like this creative Catholic church.  They continue to have Mass at the regular time, but they added a service on game days to make attending services just a little bit easier.  
With that said:  Worship is much more important than any sporting event and we won't be able to make things easier for everyone.  Sometimes people will have to make a decision when soccer  interferes with their regularly scheduled time of worship.  Sometimes it's okay for people to have to choose. 
When possible though, perhaps the church could try to make things just a little bit easier.  Surely we can at least sit at the drawing board and try. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Grace at God's Pace

Even when I'm worried...
Even when I'm tired...
Even when I'm frustrated...
Even when I don't understand...
Even when pride blinds me...

God's grace meets me where I am.  I'm grateful.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

On Hands and Knees

I cleaned my kitchen floors yesterday.  I'm embarrassed to admit it, but they were unbelievably gross.  Old Cheerios, crusted cranberries, sticky spots, and my tresses littered the corners of the kitchen:  The whole gang was there!  I sweep often, but rarely do I get on my hands and knees to scrub. 

While working on the floors I heard Fred Craddock preach an unassuming, outstanding sermon.  My goodness.  It was one of those sermons where the words were written just for me, just for that day, just for that moment.  And when a sermon helps me realize who I am and who I can be in Christ, that is gift.    

It didn't occur to me until later I might've actually heard the sermon because of my posture. 

I do not normally find myself in a posture of humility, and I am not normally a humble person.  There's no doubt Craddock's sermons are easy on the ears, but I think being on hands and knees helped me hear.  Perhaps a step forward in humility is first assuming the position.

Humility makes us better hearers and by physically lowering ourselves, we embrace the posture of servanthood Jesus modeled and taught. I wonder how much we miss by sitting, walking, running, or even standing behind a pulpit. 

A posture of humility can help us receive in an attitude of humility.  And maybe when our bodies are in a position to receive, our ears (and lives) more readily follow suit.

"The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer; and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen…I possess God in as great tranquility as if I were upon my knees before the Blessed Sacrament."  
Brother Lawrence, Practicing the Presence of God