June 20, 2010
Ghost Ranch, Abiquiu
Genesis 28-33 (Newell Summary/ Translation)
1 John 4:11-12; 20-21
Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and God’s love is perfected in us. Those who say, “I love God and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do no love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from Jesus is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.
Who are you..who who who who? This week during youth week we have been exploring very important existential questions: Who am I? Who am I becoming?
Who am I? Well, I’m Chester. Such a maligned name raises eye-brows. And not just here in the US. It’s a cigarette brand in Guatemala, and, in Brasil what do you call a chicken crossed with a turkey? A Chester. Who am I? Let’s talk about occupation? A Presbyterian minister. What a conversation killer. “Oh that’s nice, Excuse me, I have to go the the restroom. See ya.” Who am I? Yesterday I tried to wear my hair in a different style from usual. “Chester, that hair do is not you.”
So, Who am I? I am cool, I’m a nerd. I am beautiful, I am ugly. I am legal, I’m illegal. I am smart I am dumb. I am a jock, I’m a member of glee...
What is our true identity? Who we are in community? Who we are in relation to the world, particularly people of a different faith? Who we are as part of God’s creation? What does it mean to be claimed as children of God? These are the themes we touched on this week…we’re going to need a few more weeks..
For some reason God put on my heart this story of Jacob as the lesson for today. Jacob knew what it meant to struggle with identity. Sibling rivalry. Who can relate? Parental pressure: Go lie to your dad and backstab your brother Jacob! “But mom”. You do what I say young man (reaching for her shoe). Living up to parents’ expectations. Who can relate? He struggled with his relationship with God. What did God want with him? What did God think of the things he had done? Ever considered these things?
Who was Jacob? And who was he becoming?
I wonder this about Ruby sometimes. My church tells me they can’t get enough Ruby stories. I think Phillip Newell is on to something when he says, when you look into the face of a newborn child you are looking into the face of God.
And it’s been easy to see that face of God in Ruby for most of her nearly 17 months of life. Her innocence and openness, curiosity and wonder. We were at a restaurant in April eating at a booth, and we were close to the end of our meal when another family came in with a little girl who also was sitting in high chair. Ruby saw her and demanded to be put down. (waving her arms). So we put her down, and she looked at the little girl, and picked up a crumb of cornbread off of her high chair and walked over to the girl with her arm extended, an offering of friendship to a stranger.
Is this how we are created? Is this how God desires us to be and act with others in the world?
So What happens?