In Uncategorized on June 3, 2013 at 9:49 am
This message on memory from Dr. Fred Craddock, one of my preaching professors, is especially poignant after a nursing home visit I made yesterday. Memory is vital to ministry with people in the later years of their life, and as Dr. Craddock says, even for those who are losing their memories through Alzheimer’s and dementia. It’s the short-term memory that goes first, but there are memories that are grafted into people’s souls. When I visit with an older couple for the first time, I ask them to tell me how they met, about their first date. I did this in the nursing home yesterday with a family whose mother has Alzheimer’s. When I asked if she had a favorite hymn, we sang Amazing Grace together. She didn’t remember all the words (neither did the rest of us), but my new friend remembered the tune and sang every note. Then her family started to talk about how she was always singing as she went about her day, and they remembered that she loved How Great Thou Art. So we sang that one, and again my friend remembered every note.
Touching those soul memories is vital to care of the soul. Dr. Craddock says in the video that it’s our job to help people remember. We remember not just our own lives, but we touch the ongoing story of God in the world by remembering the saints before us. Those memories shape our future, and the futures of those who follow us.
In Ministry on April 11, 2013 at 10:06 pm
Our bishop said today that she believed we need a Methodist symbol like Pope Francis to inspire our imaginations. She talked about how taken we all were with the distinctive vision Pope Francis is offering for the Roman Catholic Church, but that it was particularly important that the pope is so inspiring to young Catholics. She believes he’s a game changer. I’m inspired by the pope’s focus on impoverished people myself. Before you harken back to last General Conference, Bishop Huie was not advocating for a Methodist pope, but she was wondering what the person or movement would be that would capture the imagination of the UMC and inspire us to grow into our next incarnation as a people of God.
I found myself wondering, and indeed asked, “Would our leadership recognize the thing that was capturing the imagination of young people?” (I personally think it could be intentional Christian communities such as those being fostered by the Missional Wisdom Foundation) She thought for a moment and said that she believed they would because it was the conclave of cardinals, the Catholic leadership, who elected Pope Francis.
You know it’s a good exchange when it sticks with you, and I’ve been thinking about it all afternoon. The Washington Post reports that it is widely believed that Cardinal Bergoglio (Pope Francis) was runner up to Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) during the last election in 2005. I don’t think anyone would disagree that the Catholic Church needed Francis as much in 2005 as it does in 2013. Did they need to go through Benedict to get to Francis?
I believe we can trace the history that led to Francis to the Latin American base communities that spawned liberation theology. It took about 45 years to elect Pope Francis. Where do we look for someone or something like Pope Francis to unify and inspire Methodists? If it takes time to mature such an idea or a person, where are we in that process? Does our leadership have to go with Ratizinger before they’re ready for Bergoglio? Can we shorten the arc of history so that transformational ideas can take root and bear fruit sooner?
Wisdom would suggest that we not only have to wait upon the Lord, but for enough of God’s people to be inspired before the seeds of transformation blossom.