"That's showing me something" ... The Formation of Receiving.
I'm going to tell a story about my friends, but leave them anonymous.
Bob and Suzy have been happily married for many years. By all ways of measuring, they have lived/are living the good life. One day when I was on the phone with Bob he broke the news that he had cancer.
I was shocked. I had known more than one person with cancer, but never anyone as close to me as Bob.
I would talk to Bob and Suzy frequently. They gave me updates about the cancer and how the doctors were going to treat Bob's cancer and in certain honest and vulnerable moments, about how Bob was doing. Not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually.
As treatment continued it became evident that Bob was going to have undergo a procedure that would take Bob and Suzy from their home for an extended period of time.
I've never been chronically sick, but I did visit a friend once who was in this sort of circumstance. When this happens, the medical community offers an alternative form of housing. A home away from home. This home away from home was for his child. When I visited, I noted to myself how nice the place was and how generous it was of organizations like the McDonalds House, to provide a living space for almost free. Still even as nice it was, it certainly wasn't home.
Back to Bob and Suzy. Bob and Suzy were staying in one of those home away from homes. I don't think it was a McDonalds House, it may have been, but they were staying somewhere like that.
In one of my conversations with Bob he was telling me a story that was difficult for him to tell. As a side effect of the cancer treatment Bob was receiving, his digestive system had been compromised. He didn't have full control of it. Bob shared that earlier that day him and Suzy were in the cafeteria at their home away from home when he was suddenly overwhelmed by the need to used the restroom. Bob raced for the nearest restroom, but he didn't make it.
Because home away from home facilities are run as cheaply as possible, residents are often responsible for cleaning up after themselves. Cleaning up after yourself includes when you don't make it to the restroom on time. But here's what made matters more complicated for Bob. Because his immune system was also compromised from the treatments he was not medically allowed to clean up his own mess. Suzy had to.
When I was working my way through seminary I had a part time job with Cameron Park as a ranger. I think I've mentioned in a previous newsletter that I had a partner that went by the name of Lanny. Lanny was a great conversationalist. We talked about everything. Often our discussions were about life, faith and the intersection of the two. Lanny coined a phrase that become formative for me. When one of us would describe something that another human being did that Lanny found impressive or formative he would say, "that's showing me something."
"That's showing me something," became a phrase that we used to describe people who we felt were practicing Christian faith somewhere further down the trajectory of Christian discipleship than we believed we were. When I told Lanny the story about Bob and Suzy, in reference to Suzy and her committed love in cleaning up Bob's mess I commented, "that's showing me something." Without missing a beat and almost immediately after I was done Lanny said of Bob, "that's showing me something."
We are constantly told that it is better to give than receive. But to that I want to say, especially in a country that builds an identity around self-sufficiency, it is harder to receive than to give. Lanny was right, Bob showed me something too.
In last weeks newsletter I announced that I would be going on sabbatical this summer. Later that day after Craig had edited the newsletter and I saw that note he added about the offering that would be taken up to help me take my sabbatical. I immediately began squirming in my insecurity.
Sunday was excruciating.
I kept telling myself:
"people don't want to give to that"
"isn't it enough already that I get to take the sabbatical"
"some people earn their money from jobs they hate. I love mine. I don't deserve this help"
I was overwhelmed by your generosity last Sunday. Cindy White is my sabbatical liaison. After being blessed by your love I began a conversation with her about my insecurities. She connect the theological dots for me in her reply, "receiving grace is a spiritual practice ... if we can open our hands with gratitude toward man then our chance of receiving grace from God is more likely."
After I got Cindy's text I remembered Bob and Suzy's story and my conversation with Lanny. I smiled and offered a simple prayer to God, "That's showing me something."
Summer Preaching Schedule
Last week when I mentioned that I was taking sabbatical, I said that the preaching schedule was still being worked on. It has been finalized. I would like to ask that you spend time praying for each of these folks as they pour their hearts in a message that will pour into you. I'm grateful for every one of them.
May 25th Michael Laminack June 1st Adam Winn June 8th (Pentecost) Christina Gibson June 15th (Trinity Sunday) Craig Nash June 22nd Brandon Morgan June 29th Natalie Webb July 6th Sharyl Loeung July 13th Mike Robinson July 20th Michael Laminack July 27th Dani Miller August 3rd B. J. Parker August 10th Toph Whisnant August 17th Cindy White
Meet Our Newest UBCer
Name: Maccabee George Hemenway
Weight: 9lbs 5oz
Enneagram Number: 5
Mother's Day Photo Booth
On behalf of all UBCers who were born, we say, "Thank you, mom!" Words cannot express what our moms mean to us, what they have done for us and how they have helped form us into the people we are today...but we want you to try! Be sure to stop by our Mother's Day photo booth to send a message from your heart, to your mom! Your message can be delivered via Twitter, Facebook, Email, Post or Pigeon...but whichever way you choose, be sure to tag ubcwaco so we can celebrate these beautiful women and their influence in our lives together as a community!
UBC Camp In
Attention all UBCkids who are entering 1st grade! Congrats! You have dominated your first official year of school and to reward you, UBC is granting you entrance into the exclusive Root Class! As a celebration of this momentous event, we will be hosting our second annual UBCKids Camp-In for current and incoming members! On Sunday, May 25th at 6:00 PM, we will gather at Camp YooBeeCeeKinakaah (UBC) to have a night of campfire meals, obstacle courses, crafting, community-building and sleeping under the stars (***these will be artificial, as we will be indoors!***), all with the purpose of welcoming you into our fold! Your parents can pick you up on Monday, May 26th at 10:00 AM *sharp* (for the sake of our Camp Counselors!!!) An Evite is headed your way with more information, but mark your calendars now...it will be EPIC!
Work is Worship 5-11-14
Coffee Makers: Jeff Latham & Dan Padgett
Coffee Cleaner Upers: Jana Parker & Kristin Dodson
Greeters: Gabby Pucket & Becky Fowler
Shut Down Team: Boys
- Sermon: 1 Peter 2:19-25
- There will be no sunday school the weeks of May 18th & 25th. Sunday school will resume in the first week of June. More information to come.
- UBC Enneagram discussions led by Wade Macky and Kristen Richardson will begin June 4th and continue on Wednesdays this summer. More information to come.
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