Thursday, June 23, 2011

Trying to Remember What I Forgot

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)

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It took almost two years to break my addiction to caffeine; enduring headaches not too dissimilar to migraines except for blindness as well as having nothing in my system not to mention spirit to keep me awake/alert during clergy meetings to get down from 7-8 daily doses to one small cup during my 4:30 - 5:00 a.m. walk with Kopper.

Caffeine is bad for you/me/everyone.

That's what they say; or, rather, what they used to say.

Thanks to Paul who paid for it, Dennis, Wayne, and I weren't the backbone of his foursome who played in Rockford's annual Alzheimer's Association Golf Play Day.

Before dinner, auction, prizes, and awards, an expert presented "10 Simple Ways to Prevent Alzheimer's and Age-Related Memory Loss."

Because I've got a relative who's always looking for signs of that in everyone but her/himself including moi, I paid attention.

While you can google the complete list, the #1 strategy really caught my attention: "3-5 cups of coffee daily cuts risk of memory loss by 65%...Dark chocolate is also a source of caffeine."

So I've decided to increase my risk for a stroke and nausea at clergy meetings, drink up, and confound my relative who's always looking for...

Amazing how easy it is to resume addictions.

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Before I forget, I got three calls on Tuesday to visit two folks in local hospitals and another in a nursing home who've been forgotten by their pastors.

All, the physically sick ones, face significant challenges to their health.

The pastors, the spiritually sick ones, face significant challenges to their...

One pastor fashions himself as an administrator, one concentrates on homiletics, and the other is just too busy doing really important stuff like picking out the hymns for Sunday, making sure there are enough napkins for the donuts during fellowship hour, keeping "office hours" for the multitudes who never show up, designing "his" church's new stationary, checking the net for good buys on new stoles, reading (nota bene, reading) about what it means to follow Jesus, and...

I was called because I don't have anything to do that's really that important juxtaposed to the aforementioned pastors' time management/priorities.

Actually, I was called because word has gotten out that I've gotta be in the local hospitals just about every day anyway.

True.

But there's more to it than that.

Like, uh, Matthew 25.

Also, as I've been leaving the imperial priesthood to follow Jesus again, I've been spending more time in reading/meditating/praying with saints like Francis, Clare, Mother Teresa, and the like; and trying to remember what I forgot about really following Jesus: knowing Him, making Him known, and loving Him by loving like Him.

They were bored with academic, ideological, philosophical, theological, doctrinal, ecclesiastical, and denominational debates.

They understood His Church ain't built on broken pickle jars.

They just wanted to know Him, make Him known, and love Him by loving like Him.

They concentrated on what we can find for ourselves in those red-letter edition Bibles and just did it/Him.

They did not, as Brother Lawrence confessed, differentiate where, what, and with whom from why for Who: "The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer, and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great tranquility as if I were upon my knees at the blessed sacrament."

Or as Paul wrote about the true enfleshment of Christianity, "It is no longer I who live, but Jesus who lives in/through me."

That's holy communion without ceasing.

Simply, I think Jesus would spend more time on immediate needs of flesh and spirit than on, uh, churchy kinda, uh, stuff.

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I haven't been as big on nursing homes as I've been on hospitals; for the former seem more immediate than the latter.

But then I missed a member's 100th birthday party because I didn't get an invitation and didn't remember it offhand; which maybe indicates the veracity of my relative who keeps checking to see if...

When I was confronted about it, I said, "I don't feel guilty about not going because I didn't get an invitation. If I did and didn't, then I'd feel guilty."

But I felt badly; and so I went to see her the next day; and the smile after I kissed her hand in celebration reminded me of something else that I often forget: "It is more blessed to give than receive."

Then I went to see the other woman whose pastor is sooooooo/tooooooo busy for nursing homes and had an experience akin to what I once saw in a black-and-white film of Mother Teresa. She came across a dying man lying in a Calcutta gutter. His face betrayed pain, fear, terror, and horror. Then the old nun bent over, stroked his face, looked deeply into his eyes, and talked/prayed of how much Jesus loved him; and, simultaneously/miraculously, I watched as the man's face relaxed, regained hope, and began to radiate nascent personal peace and calm.

Then it hit me.

A true undershepherd really, really, really cares for the sheep - personally with touch and holy kiss and talk/prayer of how much Jesus loves...

I decided to spend more time with people and less time on stuff removed from people.

Yeah, I'll be in the hospitals almost every day; and I'm gonna hit nursing homes more regularly.

I won't be checking membership records.

I'm just gonna try to love 'em like Jesus loves 'em/me.

Would Jesus feel more comfortable in outrageously expensive clothing/vestments or in Ts, jeans, and those suffocating plastic gowns that some hospitals and nursing homes insist upon for visitors?

Would Jesus park Himself behind a desk or go out into the...?

Would Jesus spend His time rapping about churchy stuff or would He be in the hospitals, soup kitchens, nursing homes, and wherever real people had real rather than imagined...?

I used to get sooooooo/tooooooo mad about pulpiteers/pewsitters who play church.

I think I was just mad at myself for playing with 'em.

Now I feel badly for 'em.

I feel sorry for 'em.

They're missing it/Him.

Like me.

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I remember praying during the Cuban missile crisis: "Oh, God, please don't let an A-bomb drop on my head until I get my driver's license, have sex, and don't need permission from mom and dad to order off the adult menu."

Now I pray more like this, "Lord, You are so merciful and kind. When I think of how much people hate each other in our world, I'm just thankful that You haven't let us blow the whole world apart yet. Come, Lord Jesus!"

Brother Lawrence: "That as for the miseries and sins he heard of daily in the world, he was so far from wondering at them that, on the contrary, he was surprised that there were not more, considering the malice sinners were capable of; that, for his part, he prayed for them."

I just don't want to add to the problems.

I just want to point to the answer.

Jesus.

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I don't know if any of the preceding makes sense to you.

It hardly makes sense to me.

I'm just trying to follow Jesus as Jesus presented Himself as attested in Holy Scripture.

I'm not trying to reinvent or reimagine Him by auto-suggestion.

I'm just trying to remember what I forgot/forget.

Brother Lawrence: "That we ought to quicken - enliven - our faith."

In short, it's time to walk the talk.

That's something new/renewed/remembered for imperial priests like me trying to follow Jesus again.

Really, Jesus, help me to be addicted to You alone.

God knows I've been too full of myself.

I need/want to be full of Him.

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Blessings and Love!

2 comments:

Julie said...

This one was by far one of the best ones you have written since I started reading. These words compel me, lead me and pull me along with you. Yours has been a New Testament. your friend in Faith and Change
Julie

Dr. Robert R. Kopp said...

Praise the Lord!