One of my favorite parts of summer is this end of July time when three of us celebrate birthdays together! My husband’s comes first, the next day is mine, and the day after that is my daughter’s. We used to have joint parties, picnics sometimes, but as we’ve gotten older and live in different states, those have become less frequent.
Now, Tony and I feel good if we can share a day off together, let alone celebrate! And a relative and I texted this morning about just how difficult it can seem these days to actually put something in the mail – so mailing a card is actually a big success!
But the sentiment doesn’t change, does it? That celebratory meal may just be dinner in front of the TV. The birthday money may come via PayPal instead of a check in lovely card… but the purpose and the feeling are just the same. The love and the recognition of shared lives far exceeds any location, any number of zeroes, or any beauty in packaging!
I wonder if sometimes the same thing happens around the packaging of our faith on Sunday mornings. If we get so busy that showing up at church begins to feel as difficult as visiting the post office?If we are looking for easy instead of beautiful? If we get so far removed that we don’t feel its logistically possible to reconnect?
I think, this July, I’m going to try for a little more packaging. I’m going to pick up and mail a card on my way to class this afternoon. And I’ve got a gift card to a restaurant – Tony and I could have a meal out together this weekend. And maybe the best time for that meal would be right after worship on Sunday – my birthday!
I hope you’re having a happy and well-packaged summer!
So I started to title this blog before I wrote it… And the best I was coming up with was “God’s Unexpected Acts” or “The Inexplicability of God” or even “God Moments” ….
Then I realized that no matter what I called it, you would all understand exactly what I meant: Those moments when something so odd happens that you know it has to be God moving but you just aren’t sure why or how or where its going to lead to!
My life has been filled with them lately…. meetings and conversations with colleagues that could lead to such unexpected places! reconnecting unexpectedly with part of my family! learning new things about people I think I know well – or about people I didn’t even know I wanted to know! even crises and triumphs in the social and political spheres that surround us all!
Such things can’t be controlled – creating serendipity would make it NOT be serendipity, after all! But we can create an atmosphere where the unexpected can reach us. Put ourselves out there where the unexpected, the serendipitous, the inexplicable can bump into us!
I think that’s what God did in creation: created something that could grow and expand and change so that, yes, there would be this pattern – a rhythmic rise and fall – but there would also a syncopation – a change of timing, an irregularity – that would allow space for something new and exciting to happen! Just in case we got bored – or started to think God was too small to create anything but routine.
While none of you reading this know if you are included in my unexpectedness lately, just trust that you probably are. And I love you for it! You’re reminding me of my spiritual need for allowing God to move in unexpected ways – and that I need to move in that unpredictable flow, as well!
I pray your summer is providing you with some unexpected God moments and that you are able to enjoy them as much as I am!
After a long weekend with my family, I thought I’d take a “moment of personal privilege” (If you are UMC and have recently spent a week at an Annual Conference gathering, you get that joke!) and share some photos with you! I mentioned both these exhibits from Socrates Sculpture Park in my recent newsletter!
If you don’t receive the newsletter, you can sign up for it here: http://eepurl.com/bih8Sn!
I just have to update that last post – and if you haven’t read it yet do so before looking at the pictures below!
But, yes, that’s a blossom in there – several of them, in fact! I’m so happy I could burst – and trust is raising its lonely head just a little bit more!
I’m working on a sermon for June 14th and the thread that jumped out at me from the scriptures was “trust”! Thanks a lot, God! I mean who cares about trust these days?
Do we trust our politicians? Of course not! What about Wall Street? Or Main Street for that matter? No! Police? Military? Foreign governments? (Did China just hack our federal employee files?) No trust there! Educators, scientists, religious leaders? Not so much…
And it seems like no matter whether we consider ourselves (or get labeled) progressive or conservative – left or right – winged or not! – we have the same problem: we don’t trust and don’t even value trust.
Ask me who I trust… Well, maybe its Mercury in retrograde* again (or maybe it’s my waning Indiegogo campaign that isn’t making its goal!) but I’m not a very trusting person these days. I scowl at the news, scoff at my Facebook feed, and argue with church folks about Safe Sanctuary policies! I even looked at my extremely healthy tomato plant the other day and thought, “It’ll never bloom.”
So my relationship with scriptures that talk about trust is a bit edgy…. Fortunately, I like Paul’s logic… that if we are willing to trust… have faith, confidence… then we can approach Christ and be empowered to change… to regard everything from a new perspective! We can plant some new seeds and grow some new plants and trust some produce will follow!
*Just kidding… but it seems like every time something goes wrong, poor Mercury gets blamed!
Well, the Indiegogo campaign is winding down! Yesterday marked two weeks until it ends… I’m not sure if I’m glad or sad about that. It’s been a lot of work – and with minimal financial payback so far.
On the other hand, there’s been tremendous traffic on the site – far beyond what I expected – and that publicity may be beneficial down the road. And I’ve learned a lot through the process – which is always good.
Also, The Study: Spiritual Action in Daily Life will definitely happen this summer! A ten-week study will begin on August 3rd. Each week I’ll direct you to a church or world news-worthy event that will connect with scripture. Then I’ll share a series of text-messaged questions that encourage you to apply what you learn to your own daily life!
If you want more information – and a sample of what a typical week might be like – you can check out the Indiegogo site and my WordPress page for The Study. I’d love to see you in The Study this August!
The Indiegogo Campaign for my new project (The Study: Spiritual Action in Daily Life) is off to a great start! There’s been so many visits to the campaign that we are trending first in Religion! If you haven’t visited the site yet, here’s the link: http://igg.me/at/TheStudy/x/5160123