Alone in the Dark – a meditation on fear

There is much to be afraid of. Yet even so, there is more that we need not be afraid of, even when it’s scary. Some times other folk lead us to believe that we should fear some thing or some act. Some times we convince ourselves. Think of it like the grown-up version of a child afraid of darkness and night. We are afraid in the darkness because that is when the monsters are all around.

Eventually – with no small amount of practice – we learn to move away from that fear, however large or small. We have the added strength of our friends all around us. Or we live in a safer place than we did before. Or we learned that what we thought was so scary before was just … wrong. We grew up.

In your darkest night,
walk always by faith, not sight.

The prophet Isiah wrote:

When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you.
And though they are rivers,
They will not overflow you.

When you walk through the fire,
you shall not be burned.
Neither shall the flame kindle upon you.

For the Lord said, “I am your God, and
I will help you in your time of trouble.”.

That last line doesn’t say that “I will bring you out and put your feet on dry land,” or “I will fix everything that is wrong in your life.” The author says “I will help you,” and sometimes it is up to us to discern what that help is.

No faith system promises a free ride. They all require a bit of 2-sided work. In this case, at the time you are so afraid, the help will be there. It is up to you to discern the manner in which the help will arrive.

And so it is also up to you to not hold some sort of grudge against God if every item on your blessings shopping list isn’t granted exactly as you wanted.

Don’t be afraid of the great darkness in your life that you needn’t fear. Sometimes the help won’t some in the way of an open door to walk out, but rather as the candle to see the door on your own.

Keep watch in the dark moments and dark corners of your life. Keep the faith!

 – Amen



Confidence Within the Incomprehensible – a prayer

The LORD says, “Call me and I shall answer you, And will tell you great and unsearchable things of which you know nothing.” (based on Jerimiah 33:3)

God of Goodness:

Our prayer is often very poor.
But still, you hear the call
that rises up
from deep within us.

And even if we do not know
how you answer it,
we are confident of this:

You always send us
your Holy Spirit.

 – Amen

Keep the faith!




Now that You’ve Got It, What Are You Going to Do With It?

Marriage is here. It’s no longer “gay” marriage or “same sex” marriage, it’s just marriage. The time for much singing and rainbow rejoicing quiets around us, and so we begin the work.

This speaks to a whole group of people who have no previous example of how marriage works from our long-ignored and bashed down perspective. Yes, we have the example of our parents, and of our friends. Statistics show that over half of them didn’t do it very well. Are they are our source of reference. How do the workings of marriage we have all grown up with teach us about how we should handle a marriage. They didn’t exactly teach this stuff in Health class back in school.

This is also for the people who love us, who support us, and who profess to do all that they can to help us in this great life-changing step. Some Christian congregations add to this public pledge, “with the help of God,” reflecting very much the same pledge of undying, never-ending support said for them at their baptism.

What this is not.

Same sex marriage is not a time for nose-tweaking political statements. If we are a people of some sort of spiritual belief, then we should be taking this step with great seriousness and contemplation. This is not an extended date or protracted trick. This is not something that seemed like a good idea after a few drinks in Vegas. To do any of these is a waste of a blessing.

Know That Statistics Are Against You

Realize that divorce statistics studies on marriage in early adopter gay marriage states shows there is little difference in divorce rates between “gay marriages” and “everybody else.” You won’t win on this case without doing all the work. There is no golden marriage ticket.

What are you going to do with it?

Now that this blessing is among us, don’t feel as if it’s a necessary. We still have those around us who choose not to marry for whatever reason, those who are not yet emotionally ready to take on marriage, and those who would not even consider the thought, and who wish to be single. We must not become marriage snobs because some around us are not at the same relationship street that we stand on.

Just as the fight to get to this place was built on “stay out of my bedroom,” it is now our responsibility to stay out of our friends’ bedrooms, and not gloat about the drapes and wallpaper in our own.

The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?

– (John 1:35-38)

Jesus asks these new guys clearly “what is it you want” (by following me so)? Our job as marriage beginners is to figure that part out for ourselves, as long as it takes to learn it (some call this exercise discernment.)

It seems as if God is always asking us this question in one way or another… stay with your job? … get rid of your rust bucket car? … which issues to believe and which to ignore?… And so it is our job – hopefully with a little help from our friends and those who love us – to figure this out.

  • Why is it that we want to get married?
  • What do we hope to get out of the situation?
  • Are we ready to take on marriage as a calling and as a vocation, the same as our work?

The truth is: your marriage will take much more effort and cause more frustration than your job ever will. (We are assuming here that your job is not that of a bomb technician.)

And just for reference, I ask these questions of any couple seeking marriage, not just this-group, not that-group. Everyone. And if you met your alleged future spouse in any type of reality TV show about picking brides or grooms, please do not call my office. :)

– Keep the faith!