Have A Better than Good Friday and Easter Weekend (or Resurrection Day)

Darren Beem:

Celebrate Jesus!

Originally posted on Momentary Delight:

When I was teenager, my father, the man who created the Christmas Fish, decided that we would no longer refer to this as Easter Weekend. It would now be called “Resurrection Day.” This is all rooted in my dad’s concern about the connections between the celebration of Easter and Old Time Paganism as if to imply that simply saying the word Easter could bring us seriously bad joojoo.  If I wished him a happy Easter, he would return with the correction, “No, that’s Happy Resurrection Day.” As time passed, I didn’t feeling like fighting him and so I would cheerfully wish him, “Happy Resurrection Day.”

Easter Daffodil

More recently, when I attended my old Southern Baptist church, they would make all of us take a time out on Friday and Saturday. All of the church members were expected to reflect and pray about the death and resurrection of Jesus.  Don’t…

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I am Boston: Thinking About Yesterday’s Marathon

Darren Beem:

“We should never stop celebrating life.” Going back to my reflections after last year’s marathon at the one year anniversary.

Originally posted on Momentary Delight:

It’s been a long time since I ran my marathon. It’s been over five years.

When I mention to someone that I’ve ran a marathon, they usually ask, “Where?”

Among many marathoners, particularly in New England, Boston is “the marathon.” There may be other marathons, but Boston is the one people think of when you mention the word.

To answer your question, “No, I didn’t run Boston. I ran one of those other marathons.”

The next question they usually ask me is, “How long did it take you?”

Yeah, if you looked at me, you’d also doubt my ability to finish a marathon.

For me, running a marathon was among the most rewarding and uplifting things I’ve ever done in my life. Beforehand, I had this prosaic image of myself crossing the finish line with my arms upraised.

That’s not quite the way it happened for me.

For many people, they’re cheered to…

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Communion is for Screwed Up People (Like Me)

Sorry folks, I’ve been having too much fun writing at Composting Faith, a new e-magazine on sustainability and following Jesus. Since, I didn’t want you to think that I had totally forgotten you, I thought I’d republish something that seems timely. I wrote this article for a friend’s blog Subrenovationis during Lent of last year.

Life often seems complicated. I’m capable of a broad range of feelings and emotions and many times these disparate feelings seem to get in the way of meeting God. When I come to church, a lot of baggage comes with me. I might be happy. I might want to hear God’s voice. I might want to soak in God’s presence. I might be spiritually hungry. I might even be desperate for Jesus. At other times, church hits me like a ton of bricks. I don’t want to be there. I’ve had a bad week. I’ve had a bad weekend. I’m hurting. I might be angry or even depressed.

On those days, I share the sentiment of Jesus and David:

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Oftentimes when I feel sad or depressed, it can feel as if heaven is a locked fortress. God is hiding in an elusive place. He’s a million miles away. He’s inaccessible and unavailable, and if He were available, then surely He wouldn’t want anything to do with me.

When I’m feeling good or spiritual, the Eucharist can be a joyful thing. I reflect about Jesus, His life and His love for me. I think about the cross and Jesus’ death. I might reflect on my life and think about some sin in my life, or about pursuing reconciliation with someone. I might repent to God for my sin or the hardness of my heart. In these moments I come to communion prepared to meet my savior.

On the other hand, when I’m immersed in my own troubles and God feels very far away, I might have an uneasy relationship to the Eucharist. My steps feel uncertain and tentative. While I know God loves me, I’m a little unconvinced that God loves me right now.

I would much rather come to God later, when my heart and life seem right, or at least better. This coming to God, in the midst of my confusion, my depression or sadness seems off-putting and awkward.

In the midst of these conflicted feelings comes communion. Jesus wants to feed me. He wants to break bread with me. He wants to give me himself. In these moments of confused feelings, I look deeply inward and come to the realization. . .

I need Jesus. I need you. In this moment, when I feel so profoundly lost and adrift I need you. I’m amazed that you want to me, right here and right now. In this moment when I’m feeling complex feelings of inadequacy and shame, I have you Jesus. You know my shame. You also know the deepest and darkest parts of my heart and you still desire to sit with me, break bread with me and feed me.

Over the past few years, I’ve discovered the growing understanding that the Eucharist is for the broken, the hurting and for people who feel so messed up that they are uncertain if God still loves them. In other words, the Eucharist is for me. Rather than let the bread and the wine pass me by, because I feel unworthy, I receive His blood and his body, because more than ever I need Jesus.

The Eucharist is a reminder that Jesus wants to be a part of my life. Despite my doubts, fears and uncertainties, He loves me. The Eucharist is a reminder to me that God doesn’t want me to wait until “I am right” before coming to Him. The Eucharist offers me hope in the middle of my hopelessness. It is a reminder to me that God knows I’m utterly screwed up and yet despite my feelings of inadequacy He offers me bread and wine. He calls on me to drink and eat. He loves me.

He loves me!

My Experience with the Eucharist

At my church, the Greater Boston Vineyard, they take communion every week and it’s a very simple experience. If you want more of Jesus and want to say yes to him, you can take communion. On the whole, I very much value this perspective on the Eucharist, which sees communion as being something broad, inclusive and first and foremost about wanting to enter into a relationship with Jesus.

I expect some people might find this approach to communion to be overly familiar.

Nevertheless I cannot help but think about those first disciples who took the first communion lounging around a table.

For the first disciples, communion was about breaking bread with Jesus, their savior and friend. Clearly they were more than a little confused by some of the things Jesus was telling them about his coming death. They didn’t understand why Jesus had to go away. In the midst of this confusion, the one thing the first disciples wanted was Jesus.

For Jesus, this was enough.

There’s a Alot Going On-Sharing Worms and Awesomeness

One of the big things in sustainability is “sharing” and the sharing economy. While this post has nothing really to do about the sharing economy, it does have alot to do with sharing.

At our new e-magazine Composting Faith on following Jesus and living sustainably, Jo Hunter Adams dives headfirst into the topic of faith in God, worms and the unexpected joys of vermicomposting in her article “Sustainability is Fun: Experiments in Vermicomposting.” Jo does it all in this article with grace and humor. While going sustainable might mean sacrifice, Jo digs into the topic further, and discovers the unexpected blessings of making different choices. It’s a great read and it will likely get you looking at our little worm friends differently. After reading Jo’s article I’m thinking maybe we can pass on getting our girls a pet, and instead we’ll try worms. Anyway, I’m hoping that you’ll stop by Composting Faith and check it out.

The other thing I would like to share with you is a guest article that I wrote for friend Joe Webb at the Awesomeness Conspiracy entitled “Daring to Love.” It’s on sexuality and learning to love other people. While I’ve talked around this subject this is the first time I’ve chosen to dive into it (so to speak.) Joe has a great heart for others and works with youth. He’s a really thoughtful guy and I’m glad for the opportunity to collaborate with him. While you’re checking out my post, I hope you also find the time to look at some of his other thoughtful articles.

Well, that’s “all” I have to share with you today. Worms, Composting, Jesus, Sexuality, Loving Others, Composting Faith, Awesomeness. I think this pretty much sums it up.

 

 

 

Answering the Question, “What Do You Do?” & Starting Something New

It’s really cool when you get to do something you love with good friends.

When this happens, for me it’s like cha-ching. I’m “D-E-L-I-G-H-T-E-D” and I do my happy dance.

Apologies for everyone not eight years old, but that was a kind of tip to the hat to my daughter, who likes dancing along with Captain Huggy Face every time she watches the PBS Kids show Word Girl.

A few weeks ago, I talked about responding to the question, “What Do You Do?”

If I were not bound by societal conventions, how would I answer this question:”What do you do?”

On my Twitter profile, I describe myself as follows:

Loving life. I’m a 40-something, follower of Jesus, husband, father of daughters, lover of trees & blogger. One step ahead of total chaos & enjoying the ride.

This is who I am. No, this doesn’t tell you about my paid place of employment, or tell you my major in college, but it does tell you who I am. It also tells you what I love.

I love Jesus, I love my family, I love nature and I love to write. This is me and it offers such a better and more complete picture of my identity, than knowing I work at a large insurance company managing a special program.

All of this still rings true, but more recently I’ve had the opportunity launch a new e-magazine Composting Faith on following Jesus and living sustainably. It’s awesome because I get to share about something I love and do it with good friends Eugene and Jo Adams, along with some pretty cool contributing guest writers and people who are letting me interview them.

Hopefully through our dialogue we can experience more of Jesus and discuss how we can praise God through our small daily choices.  Ultimately, I’m a strong believer that faith should be fun. We should be willing to try things, take chances and enjoy the places where God surprises us. I’m hopeful that this new e-magazine will be just such a place.

I’m thankful to all of those who’ve read Momentary Delight these past few years. If you’ve read this blog even semi-casually, I hope that you check out Composting Faith and hang out with us.