Saturday, June 16, 2012

We are all broken

The day is buzzing from the start. Jamie and Glen and I meet to talk about Glen’s design for a refurbished narthex for our church. A clean, warm, welcoming entrance that would draw people in and be a symbol of what the rest could be. We draw Teddy into the discussion to get his thoughts. Glen’s idea is that we need to make a request of session to authorize a refurbishment committee. To begin with Jamie, Glen and Teddy and me as an advisor. Responsible to session, of course. 
We talk about Jamie’s desire to add a portrait of Mary Magdalene, her patron saint. Glen tells the story of Mary’s washing the feet of Jesus, the alabaster jar, how expensive it would have been. The judgment of the disciples, as so many of us are so often judged. And how Jesus rejected judgment for love and acceptance. That’s what this place is, he says, a place that honors us in our brokenness. We are all broken, but we are loved and accepted by God anyways and brought to love beyond our brokenness. He is right, of course. I tell them that this is basic  Reformed theology. The image will help give that message. 
Jamie talks about how she chose Mary Magdalene. Her parents' raised eyebrows. The research she did. The fact that the Bible does not really portray Mary as a prostitute. That the different women get conflated. That perhaps she even came from royalty, from Sheba. And Glen says, then even more so, if she could give up her royalty to follow Jesus. Teddy is following all of this with rapt attention. 
I tell them tha both are true, the extraBiblical as wellas the Biblical. That the Mary of popular culture now has her own reality. I talk about my friend Ann Hayman and her founding of and 30 years with the Mary Magdalene Project, a ministry of transformation for women who have been prostituted, as Ann always said. 
In the middle of this discussion, Martin comes in. I introduce him to Jamie. They go off for a tour of the building. I join them for a serious discussion in the session room. When Martin thinks about the avariciusness that can come into play regarding the building, his blood boils. Almost enough to dance, he says. If we’re going to make this happen, the time is now. Martin will be coming back later in the day to look around again. Other potential partners will be in for a visit as well. 
Jamie and I go off to work on a report and resolutions for the congregational meeting coming up next week. When we finally finish, it feels like much has been accomplished. 
I have just enough time to stop in the church before heading to Chelsea to see Glen’s directorial debut in the play Mah Jongg: the Musical in the West Village Musical Theatre Festival. I see Chris and tell him I’m off for Glen’s play. When I get back, there’s been an issue with two prospective partners wanting to come in for a visit. Danielle’s out of town for the day. Thankfully, the visitor called Jamie who called Steve who took care of it all. And when I step outside, I see them, they’ve been here for two hours. Taking a very serious look. 
I believe in my heart that this is all going to come together. I can see the new narthex, even now. The message of light, of welcome, of respect, and appreciation. And of course, of beauty and justice. 

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