Control Issues

4 Mar

Good morning,

Well, the snow hit again on a Sunday and there was no church at Garfield UMC.  We did manage to have church at St. Paul’s, which is in town and has flat roads from my house.

So, celebration of discipline is again delayed.

I will share with you my latest insight.  Maybe you figured it out years ago.

It began on Saturday when we had a memorial service for one of the members of St. Paul’s UMC.  Although I had visited him in the nursing home, he really wasn’t himself by the time I met him.  It was said he was very precise and organized.  His sister proved that it ran in the family.  During the luncheon one of the sister was very clear about how the buffet was to proceed.  It was very interesting to watch – I think I recognized myself pretty clearly.

Anyway, the next morning’s scripture text was Mark 8

8:34 He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.
8:35 For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.
8:36 For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life?
8:37 Indeed, what can they give in return for their life?
8:38 Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

This text has always seemed a little overwhelming to me.  And, I must say, I don’t think I ever measured up to this type of discipleship.  I know that in the 1st century being a Christian was literally a matter of life or death.  But, that is not true for the world in which I have lived out my life.

But, this Sunday I thought, maybe it is really about control issues.  I have done a children’s message in the past that asks the kids when they chose to be born, or the color of their skin, or how tall they would be, or what talents they have.  Of course all of this is just to point to the reality that we have very little control over the huge parameters in which we live our lives.

So maybe what I can hear in this text from Mark 8 is that as Jesus “carry his cross” he surrender his control.  I have known this.  Yet, once I thought of it as “control issues”, I thought of so many more things I need to surrender, am commanded to surrender.

I truly believe the way of faith is to surrender to the beauty of the present moment and let go.  Let go of trying to control it, fix it, make sure it is OK for everyone. . . let go.  To only seek God in the moment and be faithful to that presence and making that presence real in my life and real for others.

Perhaps this sounds like so much rambling, but I it has helped me to see with more clarity the simplicity of life and the joy of the present moment.  I am giving up control for Lent.

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2 Responses to “Control Issues”

  1. Phyllis Terwilliger March 4, 2015 at 4:01 pm #

    Mary,

    I laud your Lenten commitment…giving up control…it’s kind of funny because it’s really giving up something we never really had.

    • Linda Rose March 7, 2015 at 2:31 am #

      Such a lovely blog entry, Mary. And what a good point, Phyllis. Giving up delusions and resolving to be present with the Almighty makes my giving up coffee for Lent seem pretty trivial! 😉

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