"For darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples, but God will arise upon you"
It was pretty out this morning, snow covered. It was more like rain when I walked to work (I didn't notice, except that my glasses were getting spotted and my hair falling wet in my face), and I wasn't a huge fan of the slush. But my socks didn't get soggy enough for me to regret not having brought a pair of dry socks, and my hair managed to dry well, so win.
I didn't wanna go to the weight room, but I went, and did 25+ min. Low weights, but I don't have shame about that since I've been away for a couple weeks and weight training has never been my forte.
Didn't facebook used to have an option to say that you knew someone from having met at an event? I looked up a couple of the guys I met at MCC SF (can't find Chris, who was arguably my favorite) and am just putting in "MCC SF" in the "Other" option.
RED class canceled tonight due to weather. (It was clear when I left work, but I respect Diane's choice to make an early call -- she emailed at like 7am -- and to err conservatively.) Laurel went to LEM, so we met up around 8pm at Tealuxe. When she first suggested this I regretted not having brought a book, but then I remembered that I can has bff phone call.
At Tealuxe, I tried the Vanilla Green Tea (was gonna try the Silver Needles White Tea, but they were out). I'm not entirely certain I let it steep long enough, and I was like halfway through the 16oz drink before it was really cooled off enough to drink comfortably; oh well. I also bought a Vegan Chocolate Banana Cranberry muffin at the counter on a whim (I had an apples-grapes-Brie crepe at Mr. Crepe for dinner, so I wasn't wicked full), which was v. tasty.
***Rest and Bread ("Epiphany")
There's music and meditation starting at 6pm -- service starting at 6:15. Tonight, the CD was of string versions of "Great is Thy Faithfulness" and a couple other hymns I couldn't quite place. [Finlandia! Snippets of the words were running through my head, but I could pin down enough of them to Google. 1:39am I remembered the tune. Turns out I was misremembering pieces of the verse "My country's skies are bluer than the ocean, / And sunlight beams on cloverleaf and pine. / But other lands have sunlight too and clover, / And skies are everywhere as blue as mine."]Call to Worship
[One] People of God, Jesus said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
[People] We have seen the light of Christ like a star shining in the sky; and like the Magi, we have come to worship.
[All] Glory be to God.
The "Psalm" was Isaiah 60:1-6. Which first verse immediately felt familiar -- Messiah
, I presume. "Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of God has risen upon you."
The Sacred Text was the poem "how good it is to center down" from Meditation of the Heart
by Howard Thurman. The bit that struck me was (excerpt from the first Google result
The questions persist: what are we doing with our lives? -
What are the motives that order our day?
What is the end in our doings? Where are we trying to go?
Where do we put the emphasis and where are our values focused?
For what end do we make sacrifices? Where is my treasure and what do I love most in life?
What do I hate most in life and to what am I true?
Over and over the questions beat in the waiting moment.
Keith did the Reflection, and he talked about Epiphany (at which first reference Laura Ruth looked at me and smiled, 'cause I'd given her an SF church report before service, and had lamented that Glide didn't do anything for Epiphany -- though I said I understood the rationale behind focusing a sermon on New Year's Resolutions -- and I said I'd also been knee-jerk reacting against an emphasis on January 1 in church settings ever since Ari pointed out this year that the Christian New Year begins at the beginning of Advent). He talked about how Epiphany is about God manifesting Godself, and about how we find the story of the Magi (foreigners) in Matthew, which is a very Jewish gospel, written for a very Jewish audience (the idea of Christ being revealed to the "outsider" is I think my favorite Epiphany theme). He connected this to the Thurman poem about centering and questions and the Isaiah text about light (in a way which reminded me some of the MCC SF sermon about finding the light within you that will guide you -- which sounds more secularly self-centered phrased that way than the sermon actually was) and it wasn't tied together neatly enough for me to have good notes, but I was impressed that he managed to tie it together enough for me to feel reasonably satisfied.
When I emailed Laura Ruth last week, I mentioned how afterwards Ari had commented about how there was a responsive that wasn't in the bulletin, and lo, in the bulletin this time: The Sharing of the Sacrament
One: The Gifts of God for the People of God.
All: Thanks be to God.
However, during the Words of Institution, Jesus said of both the Bread and the Cup, that they were a "symbol" and I winced, recalling Ari's experience at the MCC in Wichita [locked entry
]. I brought this up to Laura Ruth after the service -- saying I was all pleased that she'd added that in to the bulletin and I was all prepared to tell her that and ask how Sunday went (she was preaching) and now I had to complain. She said that ["that" = my complaining to her] was fine, and that there was a pastoral reason for the unorthodox liturgy. I said I respected that and having raised my complaint would let it go. I thought later of how Marla has said she can't take Communion anywhere besides CWM 'cause she can't handle the "sanctification of broken bodies," but I feel like Rest & Bread and CWM have similar Words of Institution. [shrugs]
Laura Ruth's Blessing & Benediction said something about asking for God's help that we not fall asleep, which really struck me because I've been thinking recently about how to be with people when I'm helpless to do
anything -- particularly how it's hard when I'm not physically proximal and thus can't physically hold them for comfort -- and how I'm so bad at praying (at that kind of focus) and this morning I think it was I literally thought of the Maundy Thursday Taize-ish "Stay here with me. Watch and pray."
After service, Laura Ruth thanked me again for having come early last week -- said that knowing how to help (and doing it) was truly being a "Christian citizen."
Speaking of not falling asleep... how many hours of post-Tealuxe gchatting was that? [goes to bed]