Scripture Lesson: Luke 9:28-36
Contemporary Lessons: "We Wear the Mask" by Paul Laurence Dunbar and "Masks" by Sonia Sanchez (excerpt)
Tiffany opened her sermon by talking about masks (and actually wearing one). She talked about Mardi Gras and how people would wear masks so they wouldn't get found out -- and the debauchery got so bad in New Orleans that the wearing of masks was made illegal in New Orleans. She talked about how masks limit our own ability to see (and hear, and etc.). She talked about how we construct masks for ourselves and also often get handed masks. She talked about the social convention of "How are you?" / "Fine." (which is totally one of my Issues) and said that FINE can be "Freaked-out, Insecure, Neurotic, Exhausted," which is how "when I'm feeling really harried, I can say that I'm fine with integrity" (heart!).
She talked about the Transfiguration story, when Jesus took off his mask so to speak, and how she thinks that the disciples didn't get it because they were still wearing their own masks. She said that Peter says, "You can stay up here and be glorious."
She talked about how those who appear with Jesus are not David and Aaron (royalty and ritual) but Moses -- who led the Israelites out of oppression -- and Elijah -- who was called (by someone who's name I didn't recognize) "the troublemaker of Israel." She said that this tells us what kind of Messiah Jesus is.
God says, "listen up," and Jesus tells them to go back down from the mountain, back down to the people, to the work.
Bulletin insert (with my comments in the bold brackets -- it's a checklist which you're invited to think about; obviously you're not required, or really even encouraged, to do all of them):
As part of my Lenten journey I plan to strip away those trappings that keep me from God and to create space to listen to God's call in my life by committing to the following:
- Attend Worship each Sunday [I am here every Sunday unless I am physically out of town]
- Attend Maundy Thursday Service [as per usual]
- Attend Good Friday Service [I was actually thinking of going to a "Passion" concert of some sort, because I remember seeing fliers in years past and being interested, and given that I wasn't particularly moved by Good Friday Service last year -- I think because I don't have the personal history of brokenness and pain for it to really resonate with me, which I am so very okay with -- I figured skipping would be fine]
- Attend Easter Sunday Service [am currently undecided as to attending Easter Sunrise Service, but otherwise, duh]
- Attend Bible Study [define this; I'm probably going to make SCBC adult ed a regular thing, CHPC is having a "Way of Discernment" adult ed class during Lent, there's CAUMC young adult small group, etc.]
- Read the Bible [yeah, I really should do this]
- Pray or Meditate Daily [I think I probably pray every day, but I should make a better discipline of it, and I'm definitely not good at doing much meditation though it would likely be good for me]
- Bring a friend to church
- Increase my Tithe/Offering [I actually just did this at CWM like a month ago]
- Meet with my pastors for spiritual direction [we can talk about this if I start feeling a call to dialogue/mediation work -- though arguably I should chat with people about dialogue work anyway]
- Volunteer to work at the church or other organization [I agreed to be Financial Secretary starting this year]
- Read a book on spirituality or social justice
- Do an act for social justice [um...]
- Give up Drinking or Smoking [I drink so rarely as to make this n/a, I think]
- Give up Gossip [OMG HARD]
- Eat Healthily [could do better on this]
- Exercise Regularly [already there]
- Sing in the choir [hahaha, no]
- Take time to have a Sabbath/rest [yeah, that would probably be a good thing to cultivate -- and something I have thought of before with varying degrees of seriousness]
- Be intentional about keeping in touch with friends or family [yeah, I should work harder on this]
- Reconcile with estranged friends or family [arguably I'm working on this in one relationship -- not estranged, really, but working on improving a relationship]
We had Church Council, and Dan introduced me as the new Financial Secretary (replacing Thi) and later DavidP. commented that I seemed to still have both my arms intact (i.e., I didn't have to have my arms twisted to the point of breaking).
After Council, we had the last session of the Racism and White Privilege study (though we may come back to it later -- we already have a post-dinner study for Lent), and we talked specifically about the institutional level.
Near the end, Sean said that's hard for us to talk about the ways that we fail, said that when Joy had asked us to look at the chart on p. 234-5 and say where we thought CWM fell, "There was an uncomfortable silence across the table, until Elizabeth bravely said, 'Well, it is a factually true statement that CWM is mostly white people,' but that's still distancing..."
MarkM. mentioned a joint meeting of Fellowship (predominantly African-American) & ONA and how there was this big culture clash. Joy said that was a really good point -- to not just look at how we worship, but to look at how other people worship.
We talked about ways to be welcoming, and Tiffany mentioned that we don't provide translations, and she speaks Spanish so there are visitors who are more comfortable speaking to her in Spanish than in English, but what about the large community of Portuguese-speaking people, for example.
I brought up the food that we have, referencing a passage from When the Drama Club is Not Enough: Lessons from the Safe Schools Program for Gay and Lesbian Students (scroll down here).
Afterward, Sean and I and Joy and Tyler were in the church office, and Joy was trying to keep track of all the different stuff Sean does, and Sean said he does gay stuff in three different jobs -- but he doesn't do gay stuff at College Ave. Joy said that was just youth stuff, right? and Tyler asked (in a kind of joking tone) if he had any gay youth, and Sean and I kinda looked at each other, and I said, "Do I count?" and Sean kinda shrugged and he and Tyler said I would have to answer that for myself, and I said I could be the token queer, libertarian, under-30 person, and someone said that every organization needed one of those, and I agreed :)