The most difficult thing in the world is to listen, to see. We don’t want to see. Do you think a capitalist wants to see what is good in the communist system? Do you think a communist wants to see what is good and healthy in the capitalist system? Do you think a rich man wants to look at poor people? We don’t want to look, because if we do, we may change. We don’t want to look. If you look you lose control of the life that you are so precariously holding together. And so in order to wake up, the one thing you need the most is not energy, or strength, or youthfulness, or even great intelligence. The one thing you need most of all is the readiness to learn something new. (Antony de Mello*)
Every morning I receive emails from a variety of sources that offer short spiritual reflections, prose or poems. I sit in my favorite chair and love the luxury of reading through them in the quiet; some speak to me and others not as much. It is not unusual for pieces of them to show up in my sermons or at the 7:30am Wednesday Eucharist. Yesterday, the reflection from Antony de Mello caught my eye as I was considering the subject of this E-Redeemer. Both the title, “Learn Something New” and the content seem especially appropriate for this particular week.
Sunday is officially ‘Homecoming Sunday’….or as we Orioles fans might say “Opening Day” for our parish program year! I assume you have received your “Chimes” newsletter by now (if not, please email Ellen Chatard to let her know!). Contained in that mailing is the scope and breadth of the many, many programs that The Church of the Redeemer is offering this fall…and beyond. There is such an exciting balance between the ‘old’ favorites such as Rector’s Bible Study, Women Who Wonder, Women’s Book Group, Knitting Ministry, Men’s Forum, Centering Prayer to ‘new’ opportunities that include Wednesday Evening Series, Paul’s Place “Holy Casserole-y”, and expanded Sunday Adult Formation opportunities. Stay tuned for a significant increase community engagement prospects as Cristina transitions into her new role.
And that is not all….Kathy LaPlant has terrific new ideas for our young people and Paul Smith is working on coordinating expanded ministry to our RYG members. And of course, how about Bert Landman, our new Director of Music and Organist who will be working with all ages bringing his gifted perspective to broaden the foundation of excellence that he inherited.
So, the bottom line, I invite you to re-read Antony de Mello’s reflections about “Learn Something New” as we enter this new program year. May we each as individuals and as a congregation commit to ‘learn something new’, both within our parish and beyond our parish. I just bet that when we learn something new, we will do something new!
*Anthony “Tony” de Mello (4 September 1931 – 2 June 1987) was an Indian Jesuit priest and psychotherapist. A spiritual teacher, writer and public speaker, De Mello wrote several books on spirituality and hosted numerous spiritual conferences.