i am still beaming. the other night, i caught up with an old friend/teacher over the phone. deacon david suley is a true gift from God in so many ways. his words that night– plus many previous conversations– were inspirations from the Spirit.
david used a phrase to sum up his current outlook in life. it is seen in his preaching on difficult topics such as immigration at the southern border. the phrase is “let it rip.” say what needs to be said regardless of the consequences. this sentiment resonates with me. most preachers of the gospel understand this ideal. i want and need to hear some of deacon david’s homilies!
it is difficult to do.
why? because we often soften the words and message to make it palatable to those who hear the words. as public speakers prepare for the audience that will hear our words, we can filter out areas and words that we know will upset folks. politicians mention tax increases to their own demise.
those who enter the pulpit have had the experience of people hearing a different message from what was actually said. at times, even a totally unrelated or exact opposite message is interpreted!
but at a certain age, the preacher’s filter can diminish or even be totally removed. “let it rip” represents this freedom in sermons and homilies. the Holy Spirit moves through such truth telling. it is the attraction of martin luther king jr’s words. we are convicted in the evil we do; we desire the grace, healing, love and hope only God can give.
i wonder if i will ever reach this unfiltered let-it-rip point. i wonder if i do, how much i will cuss. God forbid it at the pulpit!
in my own reflection, his phrase can be tweaked too. my variation is “let it r.i.p. (rest in peace)” it is a riff on the phrase the director of my clinical pastoral education experience used to ask: “when are you going to give that up?” as i continue to work through my own personality quirks and sinfulness, i tend to hang on to things that bring stress to myself and others. how can i let go of these non essential actions and attitutdes that bring no good?
well, let it rest in peace. let me rest in peace
to close, i share a quote from st augustine. because of jesus’ love for us and his new commandment (john 13: 31ff) of “loving one another”, i will use it during my homilies today.
“What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of women and men. That is what love looks like.”
let it rip!