Sunday’s Scripture ~ Luke 6:32-38.
Much of my days are currently spent planning for in-person worship to resume. I make plans. I throw out plans. I change plans. I consult on plans.
My eyes cross over plans.
And, if I am honest, all the planning is with an aching.
I rejoice that we will – at some point – be back to worshipping together. Even so, I ache because it will not be worship as we knew it. I ache because I wonder if we will ever worship like that again.
If I am not planning, then I am reflecting on how I can and how I am making this ‘new’ normal actually normal. I am seeking the extraordinary in the ordinary. I am seeking the holy in the routine. I am, as Barbara Brown Taylor would say, pausing and giving thanks to God for the gift and presence of God’s altars in the world – be they a dining room table, a warm embrace, a thunderstorm, a blooming flower, and more.
Recently I shared a conversation with Hal and Donna Pierce. We talked about our admiration for authors that make reflections on the life of faith so real and so tangible. Their words do not require a dictionary or an array of interpretive tools. Their words read like a conversation with a beloved friend; each time you pick up where you left off – with ease and comfort and encouragement.
We share in common a love for Pastor Fred Craddock. I recommended Barbara Brown Taylor and the late Rachel Held Evans to their reading. And before the subject changed, I added Nadia Bolz-Weber to the list with an amusing caution because a healthy comfort with profanity is a major pre-requisite before reading her books.
My best friend came across this social media posting from Bolz-Weber, and it resonated deeply with me. It speaks to identifying the realness and tangibleness of our faith in the midst of pandemic. She identifies the extraordinary. She lifts up the holy. Praise God for these, God’s altars, in the world. May you recognize these and others. May God speak to you through them. May God encourage and strengthen us in the planning, in the aching, and in this and every day before us.
Let us pray.
(Copied from St. Thomas Episcopal Church – Saint Petersburg, Florida’s Facebook Page)
The Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber, Lutheran pastor and author (and now podcaster – The Confessional) offered this reflection yesterday which our Deacon, the Rev. Martha Goodwill, shares with us.
I do not know when we can gather together again in worship, Lord.
So, for now I just ask that:
When I sing along in my kitchen to each song on Stevie Wonder’s Songs in The Key of Life Album, that it be counted as praise. (Happy 70thBirthday, SW!)
And that when I read the news and my heart tightens in my chest, may it be counted as a Kyrie.
And that when my eyes brighten in a smile behind my mask as I thank the cashier may it be counted as passing the peace.
And that when I water my plants and wash my dishes and take a shower may it be counted as remembering my baptism.
And that when the tears come and my shoulders shake and my breathing falters, may it be counted as prayer.
And that when I stumble upon a Tabitha Brown video and hear her grace and love of you may it be counted as a hearing a homily.
And that as I sit at that table in my apartment, and eat one more homemade meal, slowly, joyfully, with nothing else demanding my time or attention, may it be counted as communion.