While I was away from here Recap: I attended a great women's clergy conference, a few people (see here, here and here just to name a few) graduated, some more were ordained, and I spent an awful lot of time working on our Narnia-themed Vacation Bible School, which starts in just two weeks. There were other events in there as well, but those highlights should hold you. Sorry, extended highlights are not available for sale on iTunes.
Anniversary Recap: We had a lovely day in the town where we were married, having lunch with friends, drinks with my mom, and dinner at one of our favorite places. Plus, a visit to Trader Joes! What more could you ask for in celebration? (shush. my mom reads this blog.) The last four years have seen two moves, two masters degrees, two ordinations, and our own house. The next four years will include new jobs, probably another move, and we have decided it should also include linguine.
Sermon Recap: I preached this morning for Trinity Sunday. Why, might one ask, do we like to put our fresh new clergy in charge of speaking about one of the most complicated theological concepts? Well, because we've always done it that way. Anyway, it was a no-notes sermon, but here is the basic idea:
Thoughts for Trinity Sunday 2006
John 3:16 – possibly the most-cited verse of our time. Its so popular that most people don’t even bother writing out the actual words. We’ve shorthanded one of the most powerful ideas in all of Christianity! But really, its no wonder: we are so overloaded with information, that we need to shorten things up to fit the soundbyte, to be seen when the camera scans the crowd before the commercial break. So how do we take what is overly familiar and find new life-giving possibilities?
What we need are more nighttime conversations. The night is for stillness- so says a prayer in the New Zealand BCP. At night, there is nowhere go to go, nothing to get done, and no one to see - and it frees us simply be. At night, when no one is looking, we are free to explore the quetions and understand people we don't have time for in the busyness of daylight. We can share in those encounters where nighttime conversations become nighttime conversions.
What we need are more moments like Nicodemus shared with Jesus. Nicodemus came in the night to ask questions that he didn't know how to ask in the daytime. He may not have gotten it, but that nighttime conversation changed him - and twenty-odd chapters later, we find Nicodemus present at Christ's burial.
In seminary, like many programs I suppose, people attached to circles of friends. Within my particular circle, I had two friends who were a lot alike in some ways - close in age, kids who were close in age... but even though they shared almost identical networks of friends, they just didn't like each other. One night, close to graduation time, several of our friends were gathering at the home of one of these people - and the other one decided to come along. Well, the evening went on, and one by one people needed to leave to write papers and pack and all those other things that happen at the end of the term. And my two friends found themselves sitting alone in the living room. Well, they stayed there, and talked half through the night. To this day, they are probably closer friends than anyone else from our group.
Nighttime conversations have a way of becoming nighttime conversions.
General Convention begins this week, and you will hear about the daytime events – the committee hearings, and the stories that get covered because they sell newspapers. But you won’t hear about the nighttime conversations – the priests from Massachusetts and Mississippi who stay up til the early hours of the morning talking, connecting, exploring one another’s hearts and minds. It may not change their votes, or their minds – but those conversations will change how they look at each other the next day, and how all of us love one another and live together.
Stumbling around in the dark, asking questions, exploring the unfamiliar – it is part of this living and loving in community that we celebrate today on Trinity Sunday. Today we celebrate the mystery that is the three in one. How God as Father, Son, and Spirit, Creator Reedemer and Sustainer are separate but united, different persons but one substance, an eternal community that we have been invited into. It is, as we like to say, a mystery – the depths of self-giving, other-focused love required to sustain the Trinity are beyond our knowing. But it is worth seeking, going to the unfamiliar places to see how far God’s love really does reach.