Though I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed... Convince me that you have a seed there and I am prepared to expect wonders.
-Henry David Thoreau, "The Succession of Forest Trees"
Call to Worship:
You shall ask, "What good are dead leaves?"
And I will tell you, "They nourish the sore earth."
You shall ask, "What reason is there for winter?"
And I will tell you, "To bring about new leaves."
You shall ask, "Why are the leaves so green?"
And I will tell you, "Because they are rich with life.."
You shall ask, "Why must summer end?"
And I will tell you, "So that the leaves can die."
Marla talked about seeds...
"Sometimes life is in the places we don't expect to find it."
The readings were this prayer by Thich Nhat Hahn and John 1:1-5, 10-13.
Marla reworded the Scripture to remove all gendered language and even specific references to Christ, and it actually didn't sound too awkward, which impressed me.
Marla said that God has always been with us, that Jesus was a "divine reminder" of that fact.
She talked about the opening of John, how "through this part of God's nature, everything was created."
There was some interesting stuff and some stuff that didn't quite work for me, and it doesn't boil down nicely into taking notes, though I don't think I would call it a bad sermon per se.
At Communion, Marla said, "God is in this bread and in you," and Tiffany said, "This is the Cup of blessing."
I started reading Traveling Mercies this afternoon, and it felt vaguely familiar though I think that's just because I know some of the stories from Bird By Bird or something.
On p. 15, Lee is reading the Twenty-Third Psalm to a young Annie: "'Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,' Annie, not 'Yea, as I end up living forever in the valley....'"
I now wanna read Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling.
One of the things Lamott quotes is Psalm 91: "He shall cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you shall take refuge." I immediately thought of Luke 13:34 "How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings."
She also quotes the great Micah: "And what does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God."
George Herbert: "And here in the dust and dirt, O here, / The lilies of his love appear."
On page 52 when she decides to keep Sam, I just started sobbing, I think even before she says that Pammy has cancer
This world falls on me with hopes of immortality.[boo on the Indigo Girls site now being all Flash-heavy, btw.]
Everywhere I turn all the beauty just keeps shaking me.
The second time I sobbed was on page 65 she tells the story of this gay man Kenny dying of AIDS and this other woman in the church who came from a Southern Baptist background and had always been very uncomfortable around him and how the woman went over to him during one hymn ("His Eye Is on the Sparrow") and lifted him up and held him next to her (he could no longer stand on his own).
On that same page Anne says: "I can't imagine anything but music that could have brought about this alchemy. Maybe it's because music is about as physical as it gets: your essential rhythm is your heartbeat; your essential sound, the breath. We're walking temples of noise, and when you add tender hearts to this mix, it somehow lets us meet in places we couldn't get to any other way."
On page 86, a priest recommends to her: "Get quiet for a moment, and then think about having the abortion: if you feel a deep and secret sense of relief, pay attention to that. But if you feel deeply grieved at the thought of it, listen to that."
The study group tonight was Tiffany, Marla, me, Sean, and this guy Matthew whom I guess used to attend here. Tiffany commented that she appeared to be the only one with a book, and I said I had read the section this afternoon but decided to not bring the book out in the rain, trusting that I remembered enough to participate. Marla had read the book before and skimmed it briefly this afternoon. Neither of the guys had read it.
Tiffany read aloud the couple of pages of Anne's conversion experience and we talked about that (and I slammed Surprised by Joy). Later I talked about the Lee and the 23rd Psalm but I quoted above, and Marla read aloud some of the other bits about Lee, and we talked about that, and Tiffany asked if we had had Lees in our lives, so I talked about Phyllis some. Tiffany read aloud the part where Anne quotes Whitman: "Sometimes touching another person is more than I can bear," and we talked about that, and I talked about how I appreciated her willingness to let Sam live through his grief, to not try to "jolly him out of [it]." Tiffany also talked about how when Anne came and gave a reading a few weeks ago she said that all her stories are the same: life is miserable and then grace happens and it is sufficient.