Tuesday, June 19, 2012

CP 181 The turd in the field...

CP 181  The turd in the field…

Just before leaving the Woden Parish in Canberra a woman from a nearby church said to me, “You are a loving and wise man.” She apparently saw something of those qualities in me. I took it as encouragement. I’m always happy to be encouraged. Who isn’t? I thought about that because earlier in the week I’d shared with a friend something less savoury which was said to me by a parishioner maybe 30 years ago.

In a little corner, of a little corner, of an obscure part of a far away parish there once dwelt an elder who didn’t like me much. Not at all in fact. His two sons even less so, if that were possible. One day I had to confront them over something ugly which had transpired in the previous week. I raised my concern. He hit the roof. Called me many things, a couple of which I have never been able to forget. The first was, “You’re just a useless educated *-*-*!” The second followed immediately. “You’re no more a Pastor than a turd out in the field is a Pastor!”

I needed to respond, of course. I said, without rancour, that if that was what He believed then I was unable to give him Holy Communion next Sunday. His blood pressure rose visibly. He ‘made it clear’ I should leave. As I left, his wife, with whom I got on well, asked me, in a whisper, to pray for her. I nodded. I went to a safe place where loving saints ministered to me.

There are some things I want to share about that ‘naming’. First, I hate such confrontation but was surprised by the clarity of thought and the absence of anger. Secondly, I was surprised to find I had courage when I needed courage. Thirdly, I forgave them, and indeed helped them to a healthy repentance six weeks later.

There was another thing about his names. I refused to take them on board. I refused, and refuse, to live under names our heavenly Father would not use for me. That is not to say that I’m always innocent and right in all I say and do. Far from it. However, I live under his forgiveness and welcome the nudge of the Holy Spirit, (or his four by two!,) which causes me to know my sin in the light of the Cross.

Such is my conviction. Still, I am often surprised to discover that I have been living under names bestowed on me many years ago by parents, siblings, teachers, clergy and other authority figures. Back then I believed them. And in believing them and living accordingly I brought the  weight of them into many relationships, especially in the closer ones involving family, friends and the saints. Each time I become aware of one of these names I have learned to acknowledge my sin in taking it on board and rejoice that the Father forgives and the Lord Jesus Christ sets me free of it.

Another conviction? My story is your story! All of us bring with us the baggage of childhood (and later). All of us burden our lives and other lives with perceptions and convictions about our selves and others which distort the way we relate to others, especially those close to us. When we live according to our ‘un-named names’ there is always a negative impact on us and those with whom we are connected. Thank God we do not need to be bound by these things.

 Here is the truth. We can be free of it. The Cross is about both forgiveness AND being cleaned up. If you don’t believe me read 1 John 1:7-9. The scripture does not lie to us any more than Christ does not lie to us. We are not made to live under that sort of curse. We are made for freedom! So if you get the ‘nudge of truth’ you don’t have to go into flight, fight, or fright. Let yourself tell the truth to yourself. And then go to the Cross. That is where we find the shepherd who heals us and names us with heaven’s name. For heaven’s sake, do it!

Love and peace be all over you.



Blogger Boomerexy said...

It's almost hard, though not impossible, to believe that someone could ever be so angry with you, Fred.
A wise nun at one time reminded me several times that God does not make shit.
That in mind the idea of being a "turd in the field" is completely unacceptable.
So pleased none of it stuck!

3:08 PM  

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