Tag Archives: soul care

Tweetless, Restorative Silence and God’s Word

Do we really need another sham debate in this gruesome election cycle?  This is not unlike one more nuclear weapon—for what? To bounce the rubble?  What a shameful spectacle the United States has put on for the rest of the world and I’m not talking solely about the politicians who befoul the public square but I am talking about the citizens of this country that put up with this, promote it and behave like craven lunatics.

How many hours in a day do you devote your eyes and ears to the rhetoric of political discourse and news in this country? Take a break.  Seriously. For your own well-being, turn off the taps at the t.v., the computer, your smart phone and whatever other device you rely on to fill your mind with the bleak words of a dying culture.

The world has always been somewhat noisy.  John the Baptizer was out in the wilderness tweetless for a reason.  Silence may be the most underrated power available to us for healing and restoration.  Aren’t you sick and tired of all those words chewed on, the cow curd of a debased society tossed up for us every day over and over and over?

There is a Word from the Lord, however, that is restorative and in one hour in a week, in a middle school auditorium (Jefferson Middle School Academy where we worship for the near future and interim) you can access both silence and that Word; contemplation and proclamation aimed at your soul.  Isn’t it time for some soul care?

The Word of God severs and dissembles/the Word of God repairs and restores. The Word of God shatters and shakes/the Word of God rattles bone to bone and remakes. The Word of God pierces hearts and minds, unveiling all it finds/the Word of God clothes hopelessness with the raiment of grace.  The Word of God confounds the unrighteous and the wicked/the Word enlightens the wise and provides for the weak.  The Word of God divides the sea, straightens crooked paths, makes low every mountain, lifts valleys so that the uneven ground is made level and all flesh will behold the glory of God because, as Isaiah said, “the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” [Isaiah 40:1-5]

We need to hear the Word of the Lord.  May the Word of God in Christ remove the stigma of your wounding, restore you heart, soul, mind and body.  Let nothing terrify you; but in all you face and within all you do, may the Word of Christ so fill you with courage that you withstand and stand.  The triune God engrave the eternal name upon your hearts.  Stand on your feet and live.  Enter the silence. Hear the Word.

~See you Sunday

Blizzard Watch, The End of the World As We Know It, and Soulcare

SUNDAY SERVICES CANCELED

Stay safe,   read or listen to a sermon under the sermon tab, pray and return to us Sunday, January 31st.  The Lord bless and keep you +

So my snow shovel from the last two years is pretty worn and I thought I might buy me one on Weds, two days before the end of the world as we know it  (this is actually a song by R.E.M. and I think you might want to listen to it as you watch the blizzard roll in, while drinking some hot cocoa of course)… so I was hoping to buy me one (I admit this is poor grammar) and Home Depot was completely out of snow removal implements. Like there was a rapture, but only snow removal tools were taken and we’re left behind (that is a title too of a bad movie about “THE rapture” but I’m not linking to it).  This got me thinking:  if the world were really to be near an end then would people rush to churches to care for their souls? And the answer to that is, I’m afraid, no. How would I know this? Because even if people as a rule (at least in America the united states of entertainment) do not believe they have a soul much less that their souls might be in any danger, they do know beyond any measurable doubt that their lives are limited. Finite.  Brief.  The world is ending every day. People know this but… yeah.  Life pretty much goes on until it doesn’t and lots of people ponder at that moment why they didn’t prepare for the fact that their lives end, that life is very precious and might should be lived justly and in harmony with God.   Yes, you could use a shovel in DC this week-end but you need your soul any day and anywhere.

Be careful.  Stay tuned.  If we must cancel church then we will post an announcement to that effect right here. Check in on Sunday morning before you head out.  If the meteorologists are wrong and it just rains then I look forward to seeing you Sunday. You can put your snow shovel back in the shed or wherever you store it and bring your soul into a holy place. Because we need soulcare.  Just look around: the warnings are up, the evidence is glaringly obvious:   something is awry.

Leave the “tournament of lies”* (*R.E.M. in the song noted above), turn off the talking heads, and enter a sanctuary of peace.  ~ See you next Sunday, January 31st, snowflakes.

The Preservationists

Beneath  an underpass, 22nd and 3rd, Brooklyn, september 1, 2014. Picture by Pastor Michael Bledsoe.
Beneath an underpass, 22nd and 3rd, Brooklyn, september 1, 2014. Picture by Pastor Michael Bledsoe.

I am a preservationist. Of sorts. This is true of clergy as a rule since the pastoral care of persons is fundamentally a preservation of souls. That is a very difficult conversation to have in a hedonistic culture that predicates everything it does by a materialist view of the individual and of communities. If one ascribes to such a thorough-going materialism, it is no wonder that one ends up with brutalist notions of preservation of buildings disconnected from living organisms wholly interactive with their environment and one another. Juxtapose a soulful view of human beings and communities with the materialist reductionist vision of some and I believe you can begin to see a thicker interpretation [nod to Clifford Geertz] and an organic, existential recovery of the human. Southwest and indeed any community needs a fully thought-out philosophical discussion about such things as community and the ludic evolution and development of cities. To be propelled along by the unelected and self-anointed arbiters of style serves only the narrowest of visions.

From Jacob’s pillow of stone, that he anointed as Bethel, House of God, to the Hagia Sophia or St. Paul’s London, human beings have marked holy spaces where “heaven and earth” seemed to meet. Preserving a building may indeed be the most prudent action a community may take for its history and life. I do not doubt that for some instances. What I do dismiss is the silliness that every building or every style is somehow equivalent to the Hagia Sophia. And far more critical to a soulful view of community is the preservation of living congregations that continue to dedicate themselves to the humanist and humane preservation of individuals, protecting their dignity and providing a refuge from the storms of life. Riverside has been doing that for over 150 years. In one form or another, we want to continue doing that for decades to come right here in Southwest, in the District of Columbia, in the United States. Our incarnated presence is local, our voice and our vision are global, and we adhere to a robust, soulful view of life. See you Sunday~