Monthly Archives: January 2012

What’s primary?

I have been pondering the word primary.  Today is the New Hampshire primary in preparation for the 2012 presidential elections.  There have been numerous debates in which the candidate’s position themselves and try to get more votes, to become the “primary” candidate for their party.

I have been fascinated by the candidates from the same party, supposedly with the same values, attempting to discredit and marginalize the others in the same party.  Not only is it fascinating,  it reminds me how similar it is to the life of the Church and for those who claim the name Christian.

Individuals and churches work to distinguish themselves from each other.  Now, this is not necessarily a bad thing.  People have preferences in terms of style of worship, translation of the Bible and what kinds of programs are offered for members of their families.

What becomes problematic for me, is the way that human beings tear each other apart, insult and demonize each other in order to be on top, in order to be primary.  Churches, Christians and politicians often split hairs in order to come out on top, in order to prove they are “right” and to make their opponent “wrong”.  It angers me and it saddens me.

In my tradition of the United Methodist Church, January is often the time to recite John Wesley’s “Covenant Prayer.”  The prayer written around 1780 follows:

I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed by thee or laid aside for thee,
exalted for thee or brought low for thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things
to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
thou art mine, and I am thine. So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.

This prayer, makes clear, for me at least what is really primary, my relationship with the Divine.  Not what I want, but what God has in store for me.  It is a hard sell in our culture and society.  And yet, for followers of Christ, it has always been so.  And what is primary is love of God and neighbor.

What is hardest for me, is to remember that.  It is not important for me to be “right” or “primary” or to come out on top.  What is primary is to love God and to love others and to make that real in all I say and do.

So once again, I recommit and re-covenant to allow God to be primary in my life, in my words and in my actions.  And “freely and heartily yielding all things to God”  I am

Graced to Serve.

 

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A Giant of a Man

Today, a “giant” of a man transitioned from this life to the next.  He was diagnosed with cancer less than two weeks ago and died surrounded by his beloved wife and family.  He was a giant in so many ways, his love of God, his passion for justice and his commitment to the church oh…and he stood over 6’6″.  His name was Reverend Charles Curtis and looked like ever picture you have ever seen of Abraham Lincoln.

Like Lincoln, Charles had a deep sense of what is just and right and good.  Back in the sixties, Charles and his family were threatened when he stood up for the right of all people to be welcomed in the church and the neighborhood regardless of their race or the color of their skin.  Charles marched for justice, preached the love of God for all and lived his faith and belief in word and deed.  He served the local church as pastor, preacher and teacher.  He served the annual conference as a leader, District Superintendent, and mentor of clergy.

On a personal note, Charles was a man I admired.  He supported my ministry from the very beginning, following my different appointments, positions I held in the annual conference and delighting in my appointment at West Heights.  He prayed for me, encouraged me and on occasion told me when my sermon was not up to standard.  He reminded me that taking the side of the  vulnerable, the outsider and those who were oppressed was worth doing, even when individuals, the community or even the church didn’t believe.  Some things take time to be lived into reality.  Our job as faithful people is to live the reality of the reign of God even when others don’t understand or see it.

Charles was beloved at West Heights as one of the early pastors and then in retirement as pastor emeritus.  He lived with the long term effects of Guillain Barre.  Even though his body weakened over time, he found ways to enjoy life with his beloved wife Betty and do most of the things they longed to do together.  His last days were spent laughing, remembering, story telling and saying goodbye.  His faith sustained in his dying as it did in his living.

I can only pray that my faith is as strong a witness in word and deed.  Charles memory IS a blessing, but more importantly a challenge for those of us who remain.  I am grateful for Charles faith, his love and his witness.  I hope I can live and die As well as he did.  As I remember his legacy, I remain

Graced to Serve

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Return to blogging

I have changed blog sites!  When Google made changes this summer, it would not let me into my old blog pastorcwatson@blogspot.com   There were all kinds of steps to walk through, and I grew more and more frustrated.  The blog was tied to a church e-mail, not mine and I just quit trying.  I promised myself I would get back to blogging, but of course, other things got in the way.

So having checked out the “statistics” of my friend tikiman1962@wordpress.com who blogs through Word Press  I decided it was time to start again.

Since my last blog, life has been shall we say interesting.  A friend and the executive director of Inter-faith Ministries died unexpectedly.  I chaired the search committee to find a replacement.  It was difficult important work that I took to heart.  It reminded me that while each one of us is unique and unrepeatable, all of us will find a time when someone else must continue the ministry.

My husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer.  He has had surgery and without further treatment has been declared cancer free.  I am deeply grateful.  Life is fragile, a gift and deeply connected to God.

I am glad to be back to pondering, writing and sharing some reflections in a new space.  As always, I am deeply

Graced to Serve

 

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