(July 1, 2017)
It’s a very rainy Saturday morning here in Rochester. Actually, I love these days. Saturday morning is my time to meditate and write my sermon … clear my head for tomorrow’s worship … and just have time alone with God. I guess it’s my Sabbath though sometimes I still rail at such a formal title for time spent in my Center.
I’ve always loved the rain. It makes me think I’m in the woods in a tent or in a cabin on a lake somewhere. Even as a kid I loved being in school on those days because I felt like I learned better. It helped me focus.
My sermon has really affected me today. (What’s Are the Rewards?) I found myself led to exploring my call, our congregation’s call and our NATION’s call to be prophets in this day and age. This all comes hot on the heels of my trip last week to Louisville which I’ve been mentally “unpacking” all week long.
It’s amazing to me when I think back over the last 50 years … back to when I was a teenager and first really started exploring world religions and a personal relationship with some sort of spiritual expression in my life. The journey. The circuitous route. The SPIRAL moving to and fro that led me through different careers that brought me, at last, to South Church and all of the work we’ve been doing for almost a decade now.
Sitting at a table with colleagues and realizing that I belong there — in the sense that I have something to offer to the work. That is a HUGE moment for me. I think I stay so busy doing the work that I sometimes don’t have time to think about doing the work if you know what I mean.
And then I found myself thinking about my family and friends — more of whom now live in a nearer presence to God than I can in this life — and how each ONE of them lives in me. Each one of them has brought me to this point. June 29th would have been my sister’s 82nd birthday. THAT was a shocker … she died at 59. So much of what I do for a living is just like what our dad did except his field was music education and not religion. But working with groups of colleagues … being drawn to visionary ideas and models … pure Fay Swift. On top of that, we dedicated a small park to two of my friends who died a year ago. The way they lived and died really affected me at a deep, deep level. They’re very much with me now, even when I sense another one who’s close to me may be going through that within this next year.
The older I get … the more I do this kind of work of accompanying people on their spiritual journeys … the more I really see, sense and almost understand the continuum of life energy that sweeps us through this lifetime and into the next.
It has taken me a lifetime to get to here … not that the time en route was wasted. I was doing stuff even then. But how funny that we as a culture … as a country … and, I think, as a church … expect things to come quickly. Not sure where we get that notion — our instantaneous society, maybe. “To everything there is a season.” And I feel as if my season right now is riding the crest of the wave with the surge beneath me, carrying me forward even as it lifts me up above the swirling currents. “KOWABUNGA!” as the poster over my bed said in high school. I think it might have had Snoopy riding a surf board. (Haven’t thought of that in years!) LOL
Somehow I believe that everything I’m going through is true for others, too. Feel free to let me know if you agree with that or not. The Universe has a use for us … a PLACE for us … at every point in our lives.
What a great and wondrous God who gives us that gift of awareness. And “what is the chief end of man [human life],” the catechism asks. “To love God and enjoy [Her] forever.”
Thank you, God, for these moments of feeling and living that on this rainy day.