Our worship this morning preceded a congregational gathering in which we began the work of ReVisioning our congregation. After years of ReThinking Christianity we are beginning to move on to the work of articulating those things what it is that we do hold in common.
Using the Parable of the Good Samaritan the sermon explores the art of living in the questions. Listen to the sermon here
In the words of our ancestors as they grappled to tell the story of the Divine Mystery we call God, it is written. “Then God spoke all these words, and said, “I AM YAHWEH who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Do not worship any gods except me! Do not make for yourselves any carved mage or likeness of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters of the earth, and do not bow down to them or serve them! For I, YAHWEH, am a jealous God.” (Exodus 20:1-5)
Joan Chittister, a Roman Catholic nun and brilliant theologian, tells a story about a little girl named Katie who was a second-grader in one of the schools of Chittister’s community. One Friday during art class as the teacher roamed the aisles checking progress, she stopped at Katie’s desk and asked, “Well, Katie, what are you drawing?” “I am drawing a picture of God,” Katie said proudly. “Katie,” the teacher answered, “you can’t draw a picture of God. Nobody knows what God looks like.” Katie said, “They will when I’m finished.”
I never was much good at drawing, but like little Katie I to have tried my hand at creating an image of God. For me my image making really took off when I wasn’t much older than little Katie. I must have been about nine or ten years old when my dreams came true one Christmas morning and I became the proud owner of a microscope. At the time I was convinced that my microscope was the most sophisticated tool ever designed. It came in it’s own wooden box and I distinctly remember the metal clasp on that box had a small clasped that was designed to allow a pad lock to slip through so that the box could be safely secured from less sophisticated explorers like my little brother from opening it to reveal the splendor of a tool that could turn its owner into a scientist. Along with my microscope came a box of small glass slides, an eyedropper and a sample jar. My father explained to me that we could go to a local pond to collect our samples. Dad assured me that a small jar of pond-water would contain enough samples to keep me busy for days. Dad was absolutely correct and I spent many an afternoon squinting into my microscope, painstakingly adjusting the focus so that I could get just the right magnification to see the wonders of a miniature world of creatures I had never before even dreamed existed. I was an explorer of pond scum. I was a scientist, enthralled by the tiny little world, wondering in amazement a splendor of creation. I marveled at the tiny creatures that swam franticly in and out of my view. I sometimes pretended that I was their Queen and who with godlike powers could scoop them up out of their native pond home and deliver them to my royal laboratory and command them to dance for me. And dance they would, providing hours and hours of entertainment for me and in return I lavished such care and attention on their little world. Sadly, for reasons beyond my control, their little lives always came to an end after just a few days as the pond water became even too rancid for my little subjects. But I was a benevolent monarch and rather than flush their little worlds down the toilet, I would always travel back to the pond from which they came and with great dignity and more than a little ceremony dump the foul smelling evidence of their watery demise back into the waters of their birth. I remember thinking that God too must be just as dignified when He, back then it was definitely He, attended our funerals, for God had been watching over us in much the same way as I watched my little creatures.Continue reading →