Monday Matters (January 26th, 2015)


Reflections to start the week
Monday, January 26, 2015


We went to see the movie “Wild”, a story about ways to navigate wilderness, a persistent biblical theme for sure, a theme of powerful pertinence because every one of us, even the most entrenched urbanite, knows about wilderness. Our most crowded cities can feel like the most isolated places. The movie tells the story of two women, a mother and daughter. Each find that the circumstances of life lead them into wilderness, literal, figurative. And while there are tragic challenges faced throughout the narrative, while brokenness abounds, I was struck with the ways that each of the two women discover a pathway marked by gratitude. The mother speaks of gratitude for the difficulties she experienced because she ended up with two children who she loved more than life. The daughter reflects on the painful and destructive ways she screwed things up and hurt people she loved. The journey of her life, with all its wounds, some self-inflicted, led to a new place, a new future. She was able to forgive others and forgive herself. She expresses gratitude for that journey.

I gather the movie is up for Oscars, but the takeaway prize for me? A call to gratitude in the attitude, giving thanks in the wilderness. I thought about that perspective last Friday when our church observed the feast of Phillips Brooks, a great Episcopal preacher (note: not an oxymoron) who served at Trinity Copley Square in Boston and who said the following:

You must learn, you must let God teach you, that the only way to get rid of your past is to make a future out of it. God will waste nothing. 

This Monday morning, perhaps you find yourself in the wilderness. We’ve all been there. I’m wondering how you will regard that experience, how you will think about the circumstances that brought you to this place. I’m wondering if there is a way to regard those experiences, and your life in this moment, with gratitude. To put it mildly, that’s not always easy to do.

But if our faith really is about the promise of transformation, of renewal. It calls us to that leap whereby we claim that God will waste nothing. Sometimes we see that most clearly when we’re in the wild.

– Jay Sidebotham

 Waste by Kay Ryan

Not even waste
is inviolate.
The day misspent,
the love misplaced,
has inside it
the seed of redemption.
Nothing is exempt
from resurrection.
It is tiresome
how the grass
re-ripens, greening
all along the punched and mucked horizon
once the bison
have moved on,
leaning into hunger
and hard luck. 

This one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus. -Philippians 3


Jay SidebothamContact:

Rev. Jay Sidebotham
RenewalWorks is a ministry of Forward Movement.