Greetings from Lee Barstow


Letter From Lee,   
      Pastor                    July, 2017


Dear LCC Community,
This past Sunday during sermon time, I read some excerpts from Anne Lamott’s book, Help, Thanks Wow: the Three Essential Prayers. I ended with this: “I think often of Raymond Carver’s poem “Late Fragment,” written before his death at fifty, inscribed on his tombstone…:”

And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself beloved on the earth.

This poem is where we ended Sunday, but in pondering it since, I have come to think of it as the first thing. To feel ourselves beloved—which requires both being loved and loving (since love is by definition a shared verb)—is the first thing every one of us needs. We needed to feel ourselves beloved as infants and as children and as teenagers, and we need it now. Our wisdom traditions and our art all depend on the essential presence of love and our need for it. Even our science now reveals love as required for health and the avoidance of drastic psychological cost. To see the alternative, all we need to do is pick up a newspaper.

Jesus’ final instruction to his disciples was to love each other, and so it is his final instruction to us. Anything less is a threat to our well-being… a threat even to our very survival.

So what are we to do? It’s not like we can make our feelings disappear: people will anger us…scare us… make us want to run the other way screaming. Our job is not to deny our feelings but to understand that just because they’re real doesn’t make them the Truth. Feelings aren’t facts. They are our teachers. If we resist the impulse to fight, or to flee… if we hold fast to our unshakable goal of love, we will be taught how to love… somehow… we will learn how to love through a process as mysterious as the flowing of love through us and all God’s creation that appears as life and beauty and kindness and all the rest of our blessings.

We will learn to let go and let God in. And so we will call ourselves beloved and we will feel ourselves beloved on the earth.
Peace and blessings,
Lee

Lee Barstow preaches on the first and third Sunday of each month. On second Sundays, Lee will share another’s sermon. On fourth Sundays, sermon time may be devoted to a sacred conversation, sometimes with a visitor who will share about their spiritual journey. Fifth Sundays will remain open for creative worship ideas such as Taizé, hymn sings, etc.