Remember the Room of Requirement?
No? Don’t feel bad. Neither did forty some children gathered around me for my Children’s Sermon Sunday, causing my whole message to go haywire! Because I’m trying to become a person who chuckles at her mistakes rather than one who wants to bop her own self over the head when kids derail her train of thought in front of a whole congregation, I’ll share it with you and you can watch it when you’re bored and feel better about yourself. It’s here, around the 17:50 point. You’re welcome.
Anyway, back to the Room of Requirement! It’s the magical space at Hogwarts Castle in the Harry Potter books which provides exactly what you most desperately need, if you can find it, that is. Here are directions so you won’t have to bother Siri: Take the stairs up to the seventh floor, locate the big tapestry that depicts Barnabas the Barmy teaching ballet to trolls, and you’re in the right spot. Now pace back and forth three times, concentrating deeply on what you require. At the third pass, voila! The door appears, and you’ll find inside just what you need, whether you’re Dumbledore and it’s a chamber pot, or you’re Fred or George and it’s a hiding place from Mr. Filch, or you’re part of Dumbledore’s Army and you just need a nice open space to practice your spells.
So why bring up the Room of Requirement in a children’s sermon? The point I’d hoped to make was that perhaps on our best days, the times when we truly can look past our own wants and offer ourselves to God for the building of God’s kingdom, our sanctuaries and homes could serve as God’s very own Rooms of Requirement. (Not that God needs any of us, really. God is God, after all. But to be available to be part of God’s work in the world? What a beautiful thing that could be!)
But are we ready? In times like these, where people are so divided, so full of anger, despair, sadness, hate, hope, and fear, are we people of faith ready to be used by God? Are we ready to stand up, Jesus beside us, for those whom Jesus always stood for and cared for: the oppressed, the poor, and the forgotten? Are we ready to talk to people? To feel uncomfortable? To risk our own ease, for something good?
I’m trying and I bet you are too.
Today I called my senator and talked with someone in his office about my concerns over the recent appointment of a white nationalist as chief strategist in the White House. I’d never called a senator before and I bit off several fingernails and called the wrong number twice because I’d freaked myself out and couldn’t punch the number in right, but finally I got through and said what I wanted to say. Will it make a difference? Who knows- probably not- but I had to do something.
Before I called (the first of the three times) I read Saint Francis’s Peace prayer, reminding myself that this peace we’re asking to be instruments of is Jesus’ version of the word. It’s not a namby-pamby washed out peace, focusing on the absence of strife. No, Jesus calls for a hard nosed, demanding sort, the kind of peace that stubbornly insists on completeness and wholeness, safety, inclusion, and justice.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Peace to you, friends, as we try to live out our faith.