Reflection: "A thought occurring in consideration or meditation." (Webster's)
I believe all life is meditation as we walk in the midst of creation with a Creator God who not only speaks but hears us.
This column is called "Reflections" so I will fulfill that plural tense by including two recent reflections.
Rev. James Shackelford
On Aug. 5 we were in Juneau, Alaska, for our grandson Sam's christening. When they brought him to the baptismal font Sam could not contain himself.
It was a bowl of water; he stretched to fully get in. Sam loves to sit in water and splash. He was not happy to be constrained and limited to the drops of water rolling over his head.
My reflection was simply, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these." The kingdom belongs to those who have a sense of play and a sense of abandonment to the moment. The kingdom belongs to those who want all of Jesus and who are willing to literally take the plunge.
Reflections, a mini-sermon written by Minot and area clergy, will appear each Saturday in The Minot Daily News. Clergy interested in writing a mini-sermon should contact Religion Editor Loretta Johnson at 857-1952 or Debbie Sandvold at 857-1950. The toll-free number is 1-800-735-3229.
I am reading a collection of poems by Wendell Berry. Berry lives and practices creation every day; he lives an incarnational life knowing he is created and enjoying life with his creator. Berry is troubled by all he sees in life: war, greed, suffering and needless striving.
In his poem the "Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front," Berry decries the "want more of everything ready-made." His call to the kingdom and to a sense of abandonment goes like this:
"So, friends, every day do something that will not compute. Love the Lord.
"Love the world. Work for nothing.
"Take all you have and be poor.
"Love somebody who does not deserve it.
"Denounce the government and embrace the flag.
"Hope to live in that free republic for which it stands.
"Give yourself approval to all you cannot understand.
"Praise ignorance, for what man has not encountered he has not destroyed.
"Ask questions that have no answers.
"Invest in the millennium.
The call to plant sequoias is the voice of the prophet. This is a call to live deeper and to live beyond ourselves. Berry closes with this simple instruction: "Practice resurrection."
In days of hope and recovery we need more than ever to play in the waters of baptism being immersed in life and practicing resurrection.
The Rev. James Shackelford is pastor of Grace Fellowship Church in Burlington.