Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Peggy was the daughter of Vincent and Lucile Borden. She passed away in her Palos Verdes home peacefully on Thursday, April 23, 2009. Peggy was born on June 14, 1933 in Santa Ana, California. Her only sibling and sister, Regina Western, predeceased her in 1995.
Peggy is survived by her loving husband, Joseph J. Consani (Cy) whom she had been married to for fifty-six happy years. She was beloved by her sons, Christopher, James; daughter, Anne; as well as her grandchildren: Cole, Claire, Frank, Julia, Aimee, Jack and baby Ava.
Peggy attended Anoakia School in Arcadia and went on to the University of Southern California where she studied Fine Art, and met the love of her life, Cy. Peggy was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority and had been a member of the Peninsula Chapter for Childrens Hospital for thirty-six years.
She and her daughter Anne also participated in National Charity League. Peggy brightened every room she entered. Her big hugs were warm and enveloping. She was a beautiful lady inside and out. Her love of art transcended into everything she did; her painting, cooking, entertaining and love of family and friends. Peggy was the most generous and loving woman, and gave so much to others. She will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved her.
In celebration of Peggy's life, services will be held at St. Francis Episcopal Church on Monday, May 4th, 2009 at 2:00pm, 2200 Via Rosa, Palos Verdes Estates, CA. Website: www.stfrancispv.org In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Childrens Hospital - Los Angeles. 1-800-817-4543, www.childrenshospitalla.org
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Every Easter, my wife Madelyn, buys me something that clearly demonstrates that she sees me as I really am—an adult who loves simple toys. This year she bought me a paddle with a small rubber ball attached to it by a rubber tether and a free –wheeling Easter bunny on a metal rail. I guess it could be said that I am pretty easy to please on Easter, but what I think is most important about Madelyn’s gifts is that she truly sees me for who I am. I am visible to her.
At Easter we celebrate not just Jesus being physically raised from the dead, but the deeper meaning of resurrection. Jesus’ resurrection from the dead is not any different from Jesus’ life. During his life time, Jesus proclaimed the bold message of God’s love for all people. Jesus truly saw each and every person as a child of God. Jesus healed, fed, and openly declared God’s forgiveness and mercy as the foundation for the Kingdom of Heaven that was breaking into the kingdoms of this world whose foundations were mendacity, sacred violence, and blindness to those in need or who suffer.
Jesus made the invisible dead, dying, suffering and poor visible to his disciples and to the world. Of course, the world prefers the darkness or the invisibility of such people. In fact, our very way of maintaining peace and order depend upon maintaining such invisibility. Perhaps Jesus’ message and acts of compassion that made the invisible people of the world visible were the real reasons for his death. Jesus would not become invisible. In fact, he became more and more visible as he made his way to Jerusalem.
In John’s Gospel, Jesus is reported to say: “And I, if I be lifted up, will draw all people to myself.” The crucifixion was intended to make Jesus invisible. The creed says: “crucified, died, and buried.” This is the way the world makes someone disappear, become invisible. In the case of Jesus, it was hoped that not only would he be made invisible, but so would all of those who he made visible by his simple, but powerful seeing all of us with the eyes of God, with the eyes of God’s love. Jesus sees us still as the children of God.
The cross was the world’s way of making people disappear in a very public way. By public crucifixion, the Roman state was making a threat and offering a promise to anyone who stood with the invisible poor, suffering, and victims of the world. Violence which is public and overwhelming can bring order and peace, but it does not last. Jesus’ death on the Roman cross served to do just the opposite of what was intended. That is what he meant by being lifted up and drawing all people to himself.
The creed says: “On the third day…” On the third day, Jesus was no longer invisible. We hear through the preaching of the early church that Jesus was raised from the dead and was seen by witnesses. Those who saw him had been given the gift of faith, they could see Jesus the way Jesus had seen the invisible during his life time. The resurrection means that we, the church, are becoming the presence of Christ in the world. Through our prayers of the people and the compassionate work of the church, the dead and dying are being made visible and seen as children of God who are loved beyond human knowing.
If salvation is simply a matter of believing that Jesus was raised from the dead and I, therefore, am saved and that is it, I believe we have missed the real power and presence of the risen Christ in our lives and in our world. I believe with all that is within me that Jesus was physically raised from the dead and was seen by many. He becomes visible to us in forgiveness and mercy received by the touch of his nailed scarred hands.
He becomes visible to us in his gift of seeing the invisible of our world. God created all everything, visible and invisible. As Christians we promise to “seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbor as ourselves.” We pray that God will give us eyes to see and a heart of compassion to serve those who are invisible in our world. It is by loving those whom the world rejects and serving them that we make the resurrected Christ visible to more and more people.
Alleluia. Christ is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed!
Wednesday, April 08, 2009
There is much talk these days about identity theft. There are those who steal other peoples’ identities and seek to use the stolen identity to purchase goods and services illegally. We certainly do have an identity that is defined by our social security number, driver’s license, credit cards, and by a long string of certificates and documents that have reaffirmed who we are in school, work, and in the community.
As we draw near to Easter, I would like for us to consider a different sort of identity theft which is more serious than the loss of money and credit. As we read the Passion drama from St. Mark’s Gospel this week, we heard again the playing out of an attempted identity theft. Beginning with Jesus Baptism, he was given an identity that came from God. God called him his child and Jesus called him his Father.
These two identities are interdependent and describe a relationship of love, trust, hope, and presence that was challenged in the wilderness temptations and in Jesus’ last moments of freedom in the Garden of Gethsemane. What does it take to have one’s identity as a child of God stolen?
If we look at Jesus’ time in the wilderness we can see how cunning this spiritual identity theft really is. The theft takes place in the following stages:
1. First, there is no attempt to challenge our belief that we are children of God.
2. There is, however, an attempt to change the nature of the relationship between the Father/Mother and child by suggesting that such a relationship should grant personal protection from harm, even self-inflicted harm; powers to control others through feeding the hungry or using accusation and blaming to maintain power in all human relationships and institutions.
3. When the spiritual identity theft is successful, we feel a sense of being right in all that we do and say even when that results in broken relationships with others. On Maundy Thursday, John’s Gospel reminds us that Jesus “loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.”
Some may want to make the case that Jesus’ “own” were somehow different from the rest of humanity and that Jesus loving them was dependent upon an earned place of relationship with Jesus. The story of the Gospel does not really support that idea.
As Jesus dined with his disciples that last night of his life, it was clear that they would not love him in the way that he loves them. Jesus loves to the end of his life; Jesus loves to the end of the ages; Jesus loves as the Father loves him, completely, without qualification, and to the end as he loved in the beginning of all that is and even before that beginning.
This is the identity that seemed so threatening to the world that Jesus loves to the end. It is love that is not measured in any of the ways that we place value on our lives and which we often see as our total identity. Like us, Jesus identity as God’s beloved is the target of the world’s powers and principalities.
We look at Jesus last week of life and we see his identity as God’s only begotten Son challenged. Like the voice of the Tempter in the wilderness, an appeal to the special relationship Jesus has with God the Father is used to randomly exclude some to the benefit of others.
You see we continue to call ourselves God’s children, but we act as if we are the only child God has. We participate in this soul stealing identity theft whenever our sense of being wronged results in an anger that turns to resentment and leads to hurtful behavior towards others. We participate in this theft when we say that we are Jesus’ own and define others out of this exclusive relationship with God.
It is not really a surprise that the Last Supper we celebrate on Maundy Thursday is not a trouble free, all of one accord sort of gathering. In Luke’s Gospel, the disciples argue over who is the best of those Jesus calls his “own.” Sound familiar?
In John’s Gospel, Peter refuses to allow Jesus to wash his feet like a slave. His actual protest sounds awfully much like his earlier angry rebuttal to Jesus’ prediction of his death in Jerusalem.
Peter would not allow God to define what it means to be God. Although he was somewhat sure that Jesus was in a special relationship to God, the idea that such a relationship would be used to serve others as a slave, just did not fit well into Peter’s world view.
Modern Christians and Christians through the ages have tried to retell this story to somehow make it seem as if Jesus was just feigning humility to cover up the power play of exclusivity which religion usually offers to the world.
If we have any doubts about the character, the identity, the purpose, the meaning of God, Jesus’ life of service and his offering of his life on the cross shows a view of God that continues to create Peter-like opposition to God’s will. In our opposition to God, we are not disowned. We are the ones who are Jesus’ own who are in the world whom he loves to the end of time.
Celebrate Easter this year as one of God’s own children and then open your heart to the heart of God who comes to us as a slave to offer us the freedom from our slavery to what divides us and steals our identity. “See who you are. Become who you see.” Jesus Christ is risen today and everyday even to the end of the ages. AMEN.