Sixth Sunday After Easter [2009-05-17]
SCBC Adult Ed this morning was another Miracles of Jesus video, this time John 6:1-15 (the feeding of the five thousand).
* The narrator talked about how Philip was a really practical kind of person (these days he would be an accountant or something) and Andrew only had a little faith but he did have faith (he didn't believe the little boy's lunch would feed everyone, but he did bring the little boy to Jesus), and I was reminded (yet again) of the chapter in Mark Allan Powell's Loving Jesus
on having little faith.
* I felt like he read way too much negativity in to Philip, but he suggested that Philip felt like, "If these people showed up and didn't think to bring a lunch, that's not my problem." The narrator imagined Jesus saying in effect, "you are not your brother's keeper but your brother's brother."
* The narrator said, "Jesus hadn't invited these people. In fact, he had tried to avoid them." I would actually take issue with that, but I did kind of like the idea that whenever we go to God we will never be refused, never be turned away.
* The narrator said that we just have to take a tiny step toward the impossible and God will multiply that.
In the discussion afterward, Owen said that probably what happened was lots of people had a little, and they were inspired by that witness to share what they had.
Not for the first time, I thought, "You might be too liberal for UCN" -- because it was like we weren't even entertaining the possibility that Jesus did a literal laws-of-nature-defying miracle.
CHPC was underwhelming, as usual -- though LizL. accepted a Call to pastor at First Presbyterian, Waltham, which she says is about 30% GLBT (mostly T), so during Coffee Hour she said, "I need to get hooked up with your people. The welcoming people. The people of welcome." She's a straight ally feeling a bit out of her depth.
CWM, in contrast, was FUCKING AWESOME.
Telynia and Leyalyn were heading up the stairs as I was coming out of the bathroom, and I swear Telynia said, "Hi, Elizabeth." I had no idea she knew my name.
Jeremy preached on Genesis 26:1-6, 18-22.
He opened talking about names, telling the story of a church where he worked with children once, and the children all wrote their names on a piece of paper and asked him to call roll -- if he could pronounce their names correctly (this was not a white-bread community), indicating that he valued them, then that indicated to them that he had value to offer them. Yes of course it's unfair to ask an outsider to know how to pronounce names that are foreign to them (though once you have told the outsider how to pronounce your name, of course they should work hard to get it right), but I think the story is a powerful reminder.
"wells of justice run dry when we crease to drink from and maintain them"
"stopping the flow of someone's fresh water was a serious crime -- an act of war"
"Isaac renamed old wells to reflect present reality"
He said it reminded him of Braveheart
-- "they can take our wells, but they can't take away our freedom to name them" ("they may take our lives, but they can never take away our freedom"). I said I'd been thinking of the Firefly theme
. Jeremy said I got a +1 geek points for that :) Jen later got one for knowing how to pluralize "locus."
He quoted the Japanese poet Matsuo Basho: "Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of those of old, but seek what they sought."
"don't you want more than the wars of our fathers?"
"we may lose some wells along the way that are too choked up with pettiness and hatred to be redeemed."
During the Communion liturgy, I was struck by the line "Resurrecting God, we give thanks that you could not be contained by those who sought to entomb you. You broke forth from the silence of the grave; before you the stone was moved, and the tomb of our world was opened wide." It reminded me of one of Jeremy's recent-ish posts
Jeremy handed me the Cup, and I asked if he didn't have some pun on wells such that he wanted to be the one holding the Cup and he said no he didn't. I haven't been a co-celebrant at CWM in ages, so I was casting about for what to say to the congregants as they took the Cup, and I ran through four or five (The Cup of Salvation, The Cup of Blessing, The Cup of Joy) before coming up with, "New wells for new life."
Dinner wasn't anything extraordinary, and I left around 7:30 or something, but I liked Jeremy's sermon A LOT, and even on underwhelming days I am consistently glad to be there.