If you would have asked me about 'fellowship' in mid-March this year, I might have scoffed. I would have understood that we most see Jesus in the faces of the people surrounding us in our lives, but I would have thought that nothing special was happening when I hung out with the people I go to church with, I mean it's not real, right.
I was wrong. Here five months into this project, I have learned just how important it is to have fellowship. It is skeletal structure around with faith is built. Without these people in my life, people who pray for me, encourage me, inspire me, and reflect the love that God has for me, I absolutely could not have grown in the manner that I have.
I scarcely know who I am sometimes anymore. I am painfully aware of many of my faults, and I have, until these five months, tried to build the structure of my life around controlling what goes on around me. Somewhere in the back of my mind I realize I do not have control, but that hasn't stopped me from trying my best to have more of it. The phrase that we hear is to 'let go and let God', and I find that I've found, once again, that regardless of the fact that God can do anything, He most often chooses to work through the people that are right around you every day. This is probably why Jesus emphasizes how to treat your fellow humans, you are the presence of God in the world.
I experience God's presence in my life on a daily basis, in the presence of the people in my life. By spending time with them in worship and fellowship, I've learned to see God in them. With God presence, I've learned to trust them. In experiencing both of these things, I've been slowly replacing the skeleton of control that I encaged me over the last few years with a skeleton made of fellowship. Saying 'let go and let your friends' doesn't have the same appeal of 'let go and let God', but in a way, it's the same thing; they are in Him, and He in them.
Lord, teacher of our souls, help me to recognize your holy presence in these people you have blessed me with.
Us at Saint Leo the Great: Me, Patrick, Jen, Frank, and Joe.
Us at Saints Peter and Paul: Joe, Brianne, Kevin, Julia, Frank, Me, Ron. Most epic picture ever.
Location and Architecture:
Saturday evening we went to Saint Leo the Great, 1920 North 102nd Street, Omaha. We went to Saint Leo's on because we received an invite from the Saint Leo's YACHT (young adult) Club ... I was quite amused at being referred to as a 'young' adult. The church itself was a nifty piece of engineering, with a large worship area supported by what appeared to be not enough steel posts. The result is a nicely lit, football field sized church with a flat, 'low' ceiling that enhances the feeling of horizontal space.
You can see all of my pictures from Saint Leo the Great here, yes, I had a little help.
Immediately after Mass, we joined the YACHT club in their meeting room and got fed. The people there were very kind to us and their 'kickoff' event was just like that, we played kick ball.
You can see a few more shots from the kickoff event here.
Sunday morning we went to Saints Peter and Paul, 5912 South 36th Street, Omaha. Saints Peter and Paul is one of the most unique churches we have been to. It has bold lines and shapes, and incredible artwork. Occasionally when the artwork is awesome, the space can seem distant or sterile. It was neither. I thought the worship space was approachable and intimate. Unfortunately, the acoustics were less than ideal, making it difficult to hear what Father had to say. I'd love to see an acoustical engineer work with the church to provide a better environment for the parishioners.
We got to welcome two newcomers to Mass Chaos, Kevin and Julia. Welcome, we're glad you came.
The gentlemen for whom the church is named.
One of seven amazing stained glass pieces representing the sacraments.
You can see all of my pictures from Saints Peter and Paul here.
"Then he said to the host who invited him, "When you hold a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors, in case they may invite you back and you have repayment." Luke 14:12
Like last weeks Gospel, the second half of this one is difficult too, but not for the same sort of reasons. This one is just difficult for the practicality of it. We are very blessed where we live, and almost all of my friends have decent or better jobs, decent or better housing, and probably would scoff at the prospect of someone buying their lunch, they'd probably pick up the next check, and if they couldn't afford it, it would take some convincing to get them to come.
I know what the town is like I live in, so it would not be too difficult for me to go and find someone who is unable to repay me, and probably not to terribly difficult to take them to dinner and get them a hot meal ... but given the structure of our society is this really the best idea? Probably not. Yes, people living on the street here in Omaha may need a good meal, but in all likelihood, they need longer term solutions than I am going to provide. Places like Siena Francis House, Open Door Mission, or others provide help in a manner I cannot.
As I was thinking about this, I realized what the answer is, probably I am taking Jesus too literally here. It's not necessarily about inviting people to a party, it's about living your life with a willingness to give and help. To give without the expectation of return, and to help without the hope of return.
Lord, please teach me to hold nothing back and help me to be a willing servant when you place people in front of me.
Please pray for:
My mommy (Judy) who is having leg issues for healing.
Tom who is being deployed to Afghanistan, and his wife and two daughters.
Amy for protection on her mission.
Shannon for protection on her mission.
Frank who is looking for meaningful employment.
Kevin as he prepares for his final year of seminary and the priesthood.
Marcus as he has been accepted into seminary and will be discerning the priesthood.
My friend M., who is pregnant, please pray for her and her baby.
Me, I applied for a new job.
September 5 @ 0900: Saint Joseph's in Springfield (102 South 9th Street)