I was pleased to see the Call To Worship in the bulletin opened with "Spirit of God, cool us tonight" :)
Spirit of God, cool us tonight.
Spirit of God, you are our comfort.
Spirit of God, touch our hearts, minds and emotions.
You give us love, thoughts and the energy to influence the world.
Spirit of God, give us strength.
We know you when we are brave and when we are tired. We lean on you now and give thanks for your blessing.
I'd also missed the hymn "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms." My twin thoughts were recalling that it's a hymn with a catchy tune and feeling surprised that we sang it here because I think of it as a conservative kind of hymn -- and then I realized that was probably because it's such a Singspiration kind of hymn, which doesn't actually necessarily mean it's theologically conservative.
I'd missed the Children's Time and the Scripture readings (Ezekiel 11:14-20 and Acts 1:6-11) but Will was just beginning his sermon when I got in. He talked about church community and I thought about the various conversations I've had with sk8eeyore et al over the years and how my appreciation for the importance of community has grown.
He also quipped that we shouldn't join a church just because we like the people, and that maybe liking the people we go to church with isn't always such a good thing, that how great would it be if we were "propelled out the door" to do mission because we couldn't stand to be around each other.
During Prayers of the People, this guy Adam (whom I didn't actually get a chance to say hi to) lifted up a prayer of concern for his mother's health and, referring to Will's anecdotes about people who go to church because it will make their mums happy, said that his mom actually gets upset that he goes to church, so "Don't pray for any physical healing, because that would upset her."
In the invitation to Communion, Kirk said it's an open table blah blah blah and something about "desire to commune with each other and with God" which made me hesitate for a moment and recall how often I used to talk about Communion feeling to me like primarily a statement of communion with the particular congregation of the moment and how that often made me dis-inclined to take Communion (hi, have you met my resistance to explicitly joining a community?).
Prefacing the blessing of the elements, he said you should feel free to extend a hand, open your palms, or just speak along, which I really appreciated because the majority of the congregation always extends a hand, which I understand but which isn't something I want to do, so I always appreciate it when "inclusive" safe space churches specifically include an affirmation of my choice to participate or not as I wish (similarly, it always makes me sad when the Jesus Prayer doesn't have the line "We invite you to pray in the language or tradition in which you feel most comfortable") though personally I feel secure and safe enough that I don't actually "need" the language to explicitly include me.
Instead of our usual Communion hymn (verse 3 of "Time Now to Gather"), we sang "What Does the Lord Require of Us."
Closing Hymn: "See How Great a Flame Aspires"
This woman Sarah is from Foundry in DC (where Tiffany was guest-preaching this morning) and is in Boston for 6 weeks teaching an acting class. We were chatting while waiting for dinner to be ready, and she asked how long I'd been coming here and about the church which shares the building and so of course I got talking about CAUMC small group and told her she'd be welcome to come any time, so that would be nice.
Mark, Sharon, and Michele were chatting with Kirk and Liz. Kirk was telling a story about someone he knew who attended an elementary school pageant or something, and the kids had learned signs for a song they sang, but had clearly not learned them from an actual Deaf person (they learned them from a book) because for "triangle" they just put their hands together making a triangle shape (the ASL sign is drawing a triangle in the air) and that's an actual ASL sign for something else; yeah.
We sing "Come, O Holy Spirit, Come" most Sundays, so they were asking him how you sign the other meaning of "come." There's a male and a female one, and they were highly entertained, saying they were totally planning to make those signs when we sing that hymn next week.
I asked Kirk how you sign "Peace be with you," 'cause he's signed it to me during the Passing of the Peace the past couple weeks but I can never remember how to do it back. So then they were mimicking that, and Mark was trying to be all cool making a smooth motion from the "with" to the "you" and ended up doing a Charlie's Angels kind of motion, then commenting that perhaps there was a bit of cognitive dissonance there. Michele reminded him that they had punched the peace the other week. Kirk and I had totally missed this. Apparently when Tiffany was doing her super-inclusive "We share signs of peace in many different ways," they decided to run with that and were punching each other in the arm and so forth.
Over dinner, Fame came up (also, Flashdance) and there was a bit of dramatic singing, and I quipped, "In case it wasn't already obvious that this is the gay church."
Bound was also mentioned, and Michele swears it's a good movie (it occurs to me that I still haven't gotten around to doing my writeup of Reunion wherein I watched that movie for the first time, but yeah, I beg to differ). Kirk was saying an astonishing number of gay men love that movie, which boggles me. He also mentioned Blue Velvet, which I haven't -- "Only David Lynch could make Isabella Rossellini look ugly. Creepy!"
Will works at Auburndale but has the summers off, so he and Sean have been going to morning church at other area Methodist churches -- Union, etc. He said something about "building bridges" and I said, "Oh yeah, you're being ecumenical as a good Christian community member, while I do it as a selfish academic."
Some of Tallessyn&Dan's family is visiting, it was one of the boys' tenth birthday, so there was cake. Which reminded me that my mom's chocolate cake is an integral part of my birthday celebration, but I don't wanna add stress to my overworked mother's life, plus with all our schedules (mine in particular) we're not actually doing an in-house party but are just going out to dinner after work.