Fourth Sunday After Pentecost
I am so so grateful to God for the fact that the past, oh, three weeks have passed without my being anxious really at all about the fact that I haven't gotten to connect with certain people I know and love. I think it is possibly starting to wear off a bit.
I decided to not go to LizL's installation.SCBC
I got to SCBC at like five minutes of nine and rang the doorbell. I stood outside reading my book. Once it hit 9am, I considered just going home, but then someone showed up and let me in, and moments later Ross and Emily walked in.
We opened with prayers of thanksgiving. I appreciated that Ross explicitly articulated that silence is good, too. The only thing I could think of was that I am so grateful for the patience I've had (by the grace of God) this past month or so re: various interpersonal things.
Next we lifted up prayers for the church -- and Ross turned to me and said, "You can also lift up prayers for your church, it doesn't have to be for this church," which I appreciated. But (a) I'm not used to praying for my church(es) specifically, (b) when I try to think of prayers for the Church, what keeps coming to mind is stuff like the "All Means All" initiative
, (c) it would feel like a betrayal to gripe about one of my churches in this outsider space.
And lastly we lifted up any personal concerns that were particularly weighing on our hearts -- during which part I did lift up select prayers out loud.
People kept saying "Lord" and "Father" and "He." I don't want to co-opt the term "double-consciousness"
(esp. since I think I wouldn't really be using it correctly), but I was very conscious simultaneously of how the speakers intended the language and how it failed to resonate with me. I've been inclined recently to use female language for God (e.g., "Mother," "She"), even though any gendered language for God makes me uncomfortable to some degree because God is so beyond our conceptions of gender. "Mother" in particular often make me uncomfortable because I feel like the speakers are intended to conjure up this happy fluffy "if only women ruled the world we would live in socialist harmony" idea. I was thinking about how recently I've had that fierce protective "place myself between you and the powers of darkness" urge, and how that feels to me really true to who God is and also echoes the Mama Bear response I've seen from my own mother."Mother is the name of God in the lips and hearts of children"
[Google tells me (1) that originates with William Makepeace, (2) it was quoted in The Crow
-- which is probably where it was initially familiar to me from.]CHPC
2 Corinthians 8:1-15
Sermon: "Generosity Heals"
I continue to feel like we're just going through the motions.
I liked that we sang "O How Glorious, Full of Wonder" and "Take These Gifts" (though why only verses 1&3 I dunno), and "May You Run and Not Be Weary" is growing on me as a closing responsory hymn.
Various people chatted with me at Coffee Hour. I kept expecting people to call me out on the email I sent to Session, but no one did.CWM
I think it was in the Welcome that Tiffany said something about how we are gathered around this table, and I realized that by gathering around the Communion table, we literally mirror the Last Supper -- Christ gathering together with his friends.
Carolyn went off lectionary and preached on: Psalm 29, 1 John 4:19-21, Amos 5:18-24
She talked about how Amos' audience believed that their prosperity (though I don't think that was the exact word she used, but I totally thought, "Wow, that really undercuts the idea of the Prosperity Gospel") was the result of God's favor on them. Retribution will come at the time it is least expected. She also talked about how this idea of divine retribution is problematic (though I think she might have been overgenerous in stating that we liberals are uncomfortable with the idea of divine retribution raining down on our adversaries ;) ).
She said that the word translated "stream" in Amos is a word from the Noah flood story, so it's rather more intense than just the literal translation of "permanent stream that will never run dry." She talked about how the water language of the Psalm recalls Creation and Noah -- order out of chaos. She suggested that one lesson we could take from this is that God helps us find meaning.
Three things we can learn from this Amos passage:
1. Justice is important to God. (On the Day of YHWH, YHWH's justice comes to fruition. Even God's people can act counter to what God wants.)
2. God is there with us.
3. Perhaps we are called to be the prophets.
Every time Carolyn said "Yahweh," I pinged a little. I used to really like the name "Yahweh" for God, but Ari and I have had conversations about the Tetragrammaton, and so now my immediate reaction is to find it problematic that we are pronouncing a name which was purposely unpronounceable/unpronounced.
Carolyn and I made plans for Fourth of July. \o/