Monday, May 14, 2012

Sixth Sunday in Easter: and it's going to rain

Three days in Lousiville at a national presbyterian church meeting. The same problems are affecting the church at every level. We continue to try to manage our way out of the problem while a radical rebirth is needed. We use language like equipping transformational leadership, but does anyone have any idea what that really means in concrete terms? The church has lost a third of its budget (40 million dolars) in six years. The national office now has a sign outside thay says Available, 30000 square feet commercial  as footsteps echo in empty halls. At the bottom the sign says Transforming space, changing lives.......What?  The possible meanings of that are endless, and not many positive...
A quick pass through tthe church. Deescalation non-violence training led by the fellowship of Reconciliation is being conducted in the church for those occupiers heading to Chicago to be involved in the mass action there this week. 900 from New York City have signed up for buses....
The day begins with a text message from Teddy: The sanctuary’s ready. Stool in place. Steps swept. Coffee’s on upstairs. And I smile. I also smile because I know Andre will be there.
When I get there, Rachelle is back. Looking kind of Isak Dineson, Out of Africa, today...Heading to the Columbus Avenue flea market. She is helping a man who is terminally ill, but she must keep it a secret. Can she bring her cart back later?
Come eleven, I’m ready to begin, just like last Sunday.
John reads the Act passage, (10:44-48) and Steve the epistle, 1 John 5: 1-6.  

We read thse words from Psalm 98:
5Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody.
6With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord.
7Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; the world and those who live in it.
8Let the floods clap their hands; let the hills sing together for joy
I come back and ask...can you hear the lyre? The trumpets? The sound of the horn? The roaring sea? And the clapping hands of the flood? And the hills singing together?
The hills are alive, with the sound of music....
Arcadia reads the gospel on Spanish and me in English.
As always, there’s a lot to think about. Maurice Sendak passed away last week. To any of us who are parents, that’s significant. I recall last monday’s Bible study. Callie pointing out that Jesus was in the wilderness with the wild animals, not the tame ones. As Sendak’s wild things say, Wild forever. So may we be.
Mother’s day. There are always issues with that. Those who wanted to be mothers and couldn’t be. Those whose relationships with their mothers were not the best. But all of us have someone who has been a mother to us. And as someone points out, sometimes men have been mothers. So for once, I forego the remembering of Julia Ward Howe and the antiwar roots of Mother’s Day:'s_Day_Proclamation And America’s way of taming these shout outs for peace, justice. (Wild forever.)So I ask people to  talk about their mothers. About anyone who has ben that. And the stories pour forth and echo.  
So...time to look at the scriptures. See where they take us. First, Acts.
“Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” 
Last week it was the Ethiopian eunuch. This time around it’s gentiles.This week in a week where  Obama finally comes around. Does the right thing. Comes out for marriage equality.  All part of Resurrection  living, what Easter sesson is all about. 
On this Mother’s Day, the word is Love. It says Jesus loved with water and blood..and that the essence of love is to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. Especially on Mother’s Day, we need to be cafeful with that..
Sharon Welch, in her A Feminist Ethic of Risk, says that the language of self-sacrifice faulty in two regards:
  1. Sacrifice is reviewer language,ie, it is what one sees from the outside, not inside the person resisting. For that person, the primary motivations are integrity and community, not sacrifice
  2. And what is lost is precisely not the self..what is gained in this process affirms the self as one defined by relationships with others and love. It is the self, in its fullest sense, that is not lost, but gained.  
Maybe it’s like the airplane oxygen analogy. You know, in  case oxygen is needed, pull down the mask and breathe in first before assisting your child. No way you can save anyone else if you’re already gone. Love your neighbor as you love yourself....
And of course the purpose here is that : so that joy can be complete..there it is again that word, joy.....
Jesus tells su that we are no longer servants, but friends...Friends, equals, in relationships of mutuality. 
Finally, we don’t choose, we are chosen...called to be the unique person we are created to be..we can accept or reject, but we are chosen...and it is our responsibility, our job for us to help each other discover the concrete content of our chosenness. And in short, the bottom line is, ...To love one another
As we take up the offering, Andre sings in his own style, What a friend we have in Jesus. I was prepared to do this if he hadn’t come today, guitar and all. But he makes it his own. Now if only P-------weren’t trying to sing along in that high, childhood voice of hers. 
We gather in the circle. I ask everyone to name where thr mother came from. Johannesburg, South Africa; Havana, Cuba; rural midwest, Texas, Central America, New England, deep south Florida...we come from the four corners to be here. And then our benediction, our prayers, Alleluia! Amen....
The session only meets a short while. Only to review a few things. Arcadia has brought cake. it’s Mother’s Day.
I come back in the evening for the Jeunes Virtuoses de New York concert. And once eagain, I am surprised. They’ve got a decent crowd. And the music is fine. Better than fine. Strings are the downfall of most young/amateur classic groups. But these strings are clean and crsip, no mush. They move the solos around like a true ensemble. George Kiss of France’s Fetes Musicales de Savoie, is the guest harpsichoridst. By the time David Roberts finishes with a rosuing Yankee Doodle by Vieuxtemps, it’s been a great evening. 
Talking with Steve outside. Even though he’s completely enmeshed in the upcoming Chicago action, he’s been here since 4 making sure the concert comes off well. As we’re talking, Runi comes up in her speed talking mode. ...and it’s going to rain...she says....Steve and I look at each other, it’s a perfect night.  Checks his smrtphone, no rain in the forecast.... He tells me confidentially that he found Chris and Runi on the steps last night. No good, I say,  Chris has come too far to wind up on the steps....
So what do you want to do? asks Steve. I look at him, conflicted...
Back inside Bobby appproaches us. Condaleeza Rice again....  then he says, ....and it’s  going to rain...I look at Steve, well, there we are....

1 comment:

  1. yes,,,,,,,corporations over the last 30 years have developed a whole field of organizational development to reinvent organizations, their strategies and missions...

    but the churches have had their heads in the sand and have done business as usual