Thursday, August 21, 2014

Spiritual Journey Thursday - Bedraggled Ragamuffins

Welcome back, friends!  Every Thursday, I explore my spiritual journey and invite you to link up your explorations here.  I love learning from all of you!
     On Sunday, my pastor, Peter Larson, from Lebanon Presbyterian Church, preached a sermon called "Hungry for God."  He opened it up by referring to the movie Slumdog Millionaire and how the characters are beggars in the streets of India.  He tells us that even though we may not be literal beggars, "the truth is, we are beggars at the throne of grace"  and read Luke 14:15-24, the parable of the Great Banquet.  At the end of the sermon, he talked about The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning.  I haven't read this book, but I was so taken by the image of a ragamuffin Christian.  In the summary of the book on Goodreads, it quotes, "We come to Him as ragamuffins--dirty, bedraggled, and beat-up. And when we sit at His feet, He smiles upon us, the chosen objects of His 'furious love.'" Don't you just love that?  Haven't we all felt "bedraggled and beat up?"  We don't have to be perfect or even close to perfect to come to Him.  He doesn't need what Peter referred to as the "A List."  In fact, He doesn't need us at all, but He invites us to His party anyway.  In Manning's obituary, it says, “Suffering, failure, loneliness, sorrow, discouragement, and death will be part of your journey, but the Kingdom of God will conquer all these horrors. No evil can resist grace forever.”
     Last night, my daughter Libby, called from Miami U. to read me a poem she had written.  There was one part that struck me as relating to the sermon on Sunday.  The poem is written for an adventure theme for a friend's publication,  but I starting thinking about it in the spiritual sense of adventure as she was reading it to me.  That wasn't really the intention of the poem, but you'll see what I mean!  I'm just going to share part of her poem today:
This vacant heart
This restless soul
This empty cup.

See me
Wobbling on 
The horizon tightrope
Hands splayed
As the light fades,

I’m unqualified
And uncoordinated
And utterly unworthy
And still I set out.

I left behind
That I thought were
My only choice
Left them lying
With my fear
A familiar voice
That speaks no more.

It’s just me.

- Libby Mueller

     Doesn't that sound like a bedraggled ragamuffin at the throne of God?  So today, if you're feeling "bedraggled and beat up" or "wobbling on the horizon tightrope, hands splayed," don't worry.  God will greet you at the door of the party.  And you're on the list.

     If you'd like to watch Peter's sermon (and I highly encourage you to), here is the video:

As usual, if you'd like to write about the theme, "bedraggled, ragamuffin Christian," please do, but if you're led to write about something else, feel free to do so and link up below!


  1. I was actually thinking about this theme on Sunday after the reading about the woman who begs Jesus to heal her daughter with "even the dogs eat the crumbs under your table" which reminds me of the prayer, "I am not worthy to gather the crumbs under your table, Lord."
    Your daughter's poem is full of this feeling yet with a sense of self-confidence (and worth) "I set out. I left behind the expectations..." I am also touched that your daughter is not only writing poetry, but she is sharing it with you. What a gift!

  2. Your daughter is a wonderful writer. I left behind expectations that I thought were my only choice, is my favorite line. How many times do we think we don't live up to certain expectations. I know I do, especially when it comes to faith. People expect us to act a certain way, pray a certain way, believe a certain way. That is what makes my journey so difficult.

  3. I was talking with a coworker about how we could make a difference at school this year. We were both tired, but at the same time we felt that we know this amazing God we just have to somehow find a way to share Him and His love with others. Our "cup" might feel empty like in your daughter's poem, but we also know who can fill it! Thank you Holly for making me dig deeper!

  4. Holly, There's so much to say. First of all, your daughter is such a wonderful poet!!! Second, I can't wait to settle in this weekend & watch this sermon. I didn't write about this in my post today and now I wish I had. I'm so grateful for God's grace and forgiveness! I love your line, "God will greet you at the door of the party. And you're on the list." It's so reassuring on days when I feel like I've failed and failed and failed again! I love this stanza in your daughter's poem:
    "I’m unqualified
    And uncoordinated
    And utterly unworthy
    And still I set out."
    That last line is so filled with hope and faith. I needed to read this today. Thank you for this post and for this link up!!