Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Thoughts from Bishop Jake

Wednesday, March 27, 2013
 Dear Sisters and Brothers,

Spoiler Alert: This week's thought is an excerpt from my Good Friday sermon (to be preached at St. Mark's Cathedral). I will be posting the entire sermon at Pelican Anglican and the audio on SoundCloud on that day as well. You can find the links below.

Somewhere along the line most of us learned that life is about getting it right. By "it" we mean life. Imbedded deep in our brains is an .mp3 that plays just loudly enough to insert a subliminal message: You better get this right. Don't screw it up.

It's as if we wake up every day to take the next section of a test we have already begun. Facing a test every day is stressful enough. Add to this the realization that you have already completely blown several of the previous sections. Most days you start the new section of the exam with a lower grade than you had yesterday.
If you go back to fix the sections you scarfed on the first go around, you run out of time on the section you're supposed to complete today and make a hash of it.

To make matters even worse, countless sections of the test are in fact pop quizzes over material you've never studied. You find yourself bluffing and stumbling and guessing your way through with wobbly knees and white knuckles, sure that everyone else is acing this portion of the test.

So now we've got another .mp3 running in our heads, only this one is a little louder. It's more like an earworm, a melody that keeps playing over and over and that we can't shut off. It says some variation on this: "You really blew that. You better hope nobody else saw that. You've got to do better."

As it turns out, not everything we learn is true. I learned that Pluto is a planet, that penguins mate for life, and that coffee is made from beans. The truth is that Pluto is too small to be a planet, that penguins love the ones their with, and that coffee comes from seeds.

None of this actually matters to me. But the truth about why I'm on this planet matters a lot. And I am relieved to know that I can ditch the old .mp3 in my head. I am not on this planet to get it right. I am on this planet to be made right. By Jesus. On the cross.

This is the lesson of the cross.

The cross is God's creative process. Through the cross God is writing our life as he envisions it. We provide the rough draft for God's finished product. We are in this world to be revised, amended, and reworked by God. Each day allows us to write another rough draft of who Jesus will make us through his suffering love.

We are not here to get it right. We are here so that Jesus can make us right with God, our neighbor, and ourselves.

In Christ's Love,

The Rt. Rev. Jacob W. Owensby, PhD, DD
The Diocese of Western Louisiana