sermon

The name of the room is Remember — the room where with patience, with charity, with quietness of heart, we remember consciously to remember the lives we have lived…

So much has happened to us all over the years. So much has happened within us and through us. We are to take time to remember what we can about it and what we dare. That’s what entering the room means, I think. It means taking time to remember on purpose. It means not picking up a book for once or turning on the radio, but letting the mind journey gravely, deliberately, back through the years that have gone by but are not gone. It means a deeper, slower kind of remembering; it means remembering as a searching and finding. The room is there for all of us to enter if we choose to, and the process of entering it is not unlike the process of praying, because praying too is a slow, grave journey — a search to find the truth of our own lives at their deepest and dearest, a search to understand, to hear and be heard.

The room called Remember…is a room we can enter whenever we like so that the power of remembering becomes our own power…[it] is a room where all emotions are caught up in and transcended by an extraordinary sense of well-being. It is the room of all rooms where we feel at home and at peace.

Frederick Buechner, Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons, “A Room Called Remember”

This is from another of Buechner’s sermons that has captured my imagination and is still capturing my heart. I don’t enter this room often enough, but the times I do I am blessed, refreshed, and am often given a new perspective that allows me to heal.

I’m posting this today because it resonates with a short-but-moving sermon I heard this morning about the importance of remembering our journeys and God’s faithfulness all along the way.

Grace and peace to you…

dw

Look.
Look, patient beyond hurried moment.
Look, resistant through knee-jerk habit reaction.
Look, brave past intimidation mask.
Look, determined find human soul.
Look, soft imagine child within.
Look, surprised finding friend.
Look, humbled at God’s beloved,
image of God,
right there.
Look.

Copyright © 2018, becomingflame.com

I posted this poem before, but wanted to post it again in response to the sermon I heard in last Sunday’s service. One of the themes was about being seen as we are and seeing others as they are…and I just had to share this again.

(Delvin, if you see this post, I’m so grateful for your courageous, honest, thoughtful message. I’ve known the story of Jonah for many years but you brought it to life for me in a completely new and powerful way. And you spoke things this white, male, baby boomer needed to hear. Thank you.)

dw

p.s.  I’m off my normal posting schedule – life is busy with lots of great things to be busy with.  Grace and peace to you…

For all who are in that place of pausing to perceive where their Good Shepherd is leading them next: you are practicing hope now so you can help the rest of us when we come to that place again. Grace and peace to you…

In a world where there is so much drudgery, so much grief, so much emptiness and fear and pain, our gladness in our work is as much needed as we ourselves need to be glad. If we keep our eyes and ears open, our hearts open, we will find the place surely. The phone will ring and we will jump not so much out of our skin as into our skin. If we keep our lives open, the right place will find us.

Frederick Buechner, Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons, “The Calling of Voices”

We are…God knows, a people who walk in darkness. There seems little need to explain. If darkness is meant to suggest a world where nobody can see very well — either themselves, or each other, or where they are heading, or even where they are standing at the moment; if darkness is meant to convey a sense of uncertainty, of being lost, of being afraid; if darkness suggests conflict, conflict between races, between nations, between individuals all pretty much out for themselves when you come right down to it; then we live in a world that knows much about darkness. Darkness is what our newspapers are about. Darkness is what most of our best contemporary literature is about. Darkness fills the skies over our own cities no less than over the cities of our enemies. And in our single lives, we know much about darkness too. If we are people who pray, darkness is apt to be a lot of what our prayers are about. If we are people who do not pray, it is apt to be darkness in one form or another that has stopped our mouths.

Frederick Buechner, Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons, “Come and See”

 

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I

This description of darkness sounds all too familiar to me.

I have an impulse to turn away from it, to not dwell on it lest it engulf me (as it has so many times).

I have a reluctance to admit how easily it can engulf me and for how long.

To be honest, I fear the depression it can bring on and how helpless I can feel in the throes of it.

I don’t want to risk feeling that dark, that hopeless, again.

II

God is Light.

Light doesn’t turn away from darkness.

It pierces it and exposes everything in it.

It looks into every corner to find what might be lost, to nourish what might be starving, to bring order where there is disorder, to give sight where there is blindness.

The darkness does not taint it, does not overcome it.

Light feels anguish at what it finds in the dark; anguish that breaks the heart and sweats blood.

Anguish is Love encountering the beloved in darkness; Light suffers anguish because the beloved is worth it.

Light, because of its anguish, brings warmth and hope and joy to the one engulfed in darkness.

III

God in me, with me, is that Light.

God in us, with us – Immanuel! – is that Light, doing even greater things through us, the many, who are following Him, the One.

The land once covered in darkness has seen a great light.

The land now covered in darkness can see a great light – if I, if we, follow the One in not turning away from it.

Come, Lord Jesus, come!

Grace and peace to you…

dw

 

And if he is the truth and the life, we will find it out soon enough for ourselves, you can be sure of that. If we want to find it out, if we are willing to draw near in whatever idiotic way we can, all our reservations and doubts notwithstanding, because little by little we find out then that to be where he is, to go where he goes, to see through eyes and work with hands like his is to feel like ourselves at last, is to become fully ourselves at last and fully each other’s at last, and to become finally more even than that: to become fully his at last.

Frederick Buechner, Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons, “The Sign by the Highway”

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What is the truth? It is not the answer to any question that we know how to ask. Can there be a truth that saves, can there be salvation, for those who have learned of life not to believe in salvation? Only on the other side of pain…the pained embarrassment at the words Jesus Saves, which at its heart is a pained embarrassment at our own nakedness and incompleteness…pain that brought tears to the eyes…of hope betrayed…the pain of the good thief, which is the pain of surrender, the pain of acknowledging finally our utter helplessness to save ourselves.”

Frederick Buechner, Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons, “The Sign by the Highway”

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We draw near to him by following him even on clumsy and reluctant feet and without knowing more than two cents’ worth at first about what is involved in following him — into the seventy-five-mile-an-hour, neon-lit pain of our world.

Frederick Buechner, Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons, “The Sign by the Highway”

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