Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Third Sunday in Easter: Breakfast on the beach. And in the sacntuary


Kimberley leading worsip

Kimberley is leading worship today. She’s got something different in store. The front of the sanctuary is filled with tables. And she’s brought donuts and coffee. Two interesting visitors: Adona, a young  woman from Poland. And Joe from San Francisco, a member here 30 years ago. Says that West-Park changed his life. As we’re waiting to begin, I do my talk about the socio-architectural history of the church, point to the pictures on the back wall historic display of Bob Davidson, the Pastor back then, and Laura Jervis, his associate, who founded the West Side Federation for Senior and Supportive Housing. 

So we sit at tables, sharing food. As we read the scriptures, we begin with Psalm 30. Kimberley asks us to remember back and talk about what Easter season, spring, meant to us when we were small. I remember the garden tools we received from our parents.The gardens we planted annually behind the chicken coop, in the shade of the apple orchard. The harvest that would come in summer and fall.  Jamie remembers new patent leather shoes. And Pat the year I preached a sermon about planting seeds in Lent, watching them grow during Easter. 

With Acts 9: 1-20, we read of Paul’s Damascus Road experience. And remember our own turn arounds. Unexpected redirections of our lives. For me that was my time in  Tulsa. How much I resisted going there. The last place I ever thought I’d be.And how well that turned out. Maybe the happiest ten years of my work life. Never experienced as much  grace as I  did there. How we need to be open to that.

Finally, as we read the Gospel, John 21: 1-19,  in Spanish and English, the meaning of worshipping like this becomes clear. Jesus on the beach. Waiting or his friends who have gone back to fishing. (And not too successful at that...) How he makes breakfast on the beach for them. I remember St. Peter’s fish in Israel. And I imagine the smell of the broiled fish. And they recognize Jesus in this shared meal. As we encounter one another around these tables. 

There is a sense of warmth and community around our tables.  Adona, who’s returning to Poland tomorrow,tells me how moved she was. How alive, intimate the morning felt. And Joe felt reconnected to an important time in his life.

Our Session meets. Rental proposals to consider. Stephen’s negotiations. And his ideas for future negotiations. Our ongoing big picture negotiations, moving at a glacial, frustrating pace. Remembering that it is Easter, it is spring. 

A woman has come in looking for the 1 PM service. Still up there on the bootleg website we can’t seem to get rid of. I explain. Tell her about what happens at 2 PM. Invite her back for next Sunday.

Sanctuary has begun their afternoon service. Wrapping up some things in my office. Pat and Larry come in. Planning the next phase of office reclamation. Renewal. Recreation. They’ve done a great job so far. Need to get some others to help carry the load.

It is Easter. It is spring. 

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