is the grass any bluer...

is the grass any bluer...
on the other side?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I'm Gonna Let It Shine...

by Kim Thomas

I am not ashamed of my faith, however, I like to sometimes laugh and tell my friends that I belong to a liberal church: we think everyone is right! Now, that's of course to be taken with the proverbial grain of salt. I am human, and so I am often weak when I should be strong, I have a temper, and I am capable of sin every single moment of every single day. I treasure the fact that I am a redeemed and forgiven child, but armed with that knowledge, I'm still not very keen on those who like to boast that they don't believe in God, or worse, that God is dead.

I will not hide my light under a bushel (no! I'm gonna let it shine :), but I do hope that my faith shines and indeed sustains me through the times when my life, or more importantly, the lives of others are filled with turmoil. I feel transformed every time a friend asks me for help or allows me to pray with them or for them, and my hope is strengthened by being part of a fellowship that actively embraces our community, provides shelter for homeless veterans and music lessons for underprivileged children, and promotes caregiving as being pivotal in faith formation.
There are many practices incorporated into worship at my church that traditionally are considered to belong in Catholicism and Judaism. As an ecumenical organization, we believe in One Bread, One Body, One Lord of all. Accordingly, we love to hear a klezmer clarinetist perform during Yom Kippur, or an Irish hymn will ring from our carillon. Also, all who follow Jesus of Nazareth are welcome at the communion table, and even though we also observe the Catholic liturgical calendar, we consider the observation of Lent to be a choice, rather than an obligation.

As a volunteer grief counselor called a Stephen Minister, it has been my privilege to attend to the spiritual needs of my care receivers over the last 11 years, most of whom were suffering from terminal illness. I was trained for Stephen Ministry by leaders of Central Christian Church here in Lexington, which is parenthetically called (Disciples of Christ). The Disciples is a branch of the Christian Church, which interestingly traces its roots to neighboring Bourbon County, where a great revival of more than 25,000 people occurred at the Cane Ridge Meeting House more than 200 years ago.
Cane Ridge
Because of the numbers of people attending and the length of the meeting, Cane Ridge has become the metaphor of the Great Revival. Historical accounts recall the contagious fervor which characterized the meetings that continued day and night. Descriptions abound of individuals, taken by great emotion, falling to the ground, crying aloud in prayer and song, and rising to exhort and assist others in their responses to the moment. Worship continued well into the week following the serving of Communion on Sunday, in fact, until provisions for humans and horses ran out.
Today, visitors come from around the world to sign the guest book at Cane Ridge, and I find comfort in knowing I'm not alone in my walk of faith, in believing that the Lord only really requires of me three simple things: to do justice; to love kindness; and walk humbly with my God.
No, I'm not perfect, but I'm not ashamed.

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