Sunday morning I worshipped at Northwest Christian Church in Columbus to give a little pitch to that congregation about the fundraising "Race" that we are planning for July 19th. It was only on driving over by myself that I realized that 30 years ago - almost to the day - I was ordained at that church.
The worship for me was so deep and so wonder - full.
* I was able in giving my little commercial to mention that and thank the church for their support because their foundation literally paid for my seminary education. I did not realize it at the time, but I was the first recipient of their scholarship fund. How incredibly blessed I was by them!
* As I sat in that sanctuary I remembered the young woman that I was in my time at that church and felt overwhelmed by emotion at times. After worship I was able to connect with some of the folks who were there then as well as Bill Embree, a former member of First Christian Church in Zanesville who was important to me at that time.
* Jeff Wheeler, the pastor, did a beautiful pastoral prayer in which he named all those who died on Wednesday in Charleston. He gave their names and ages and it was powerful. As Christians we can experience the truth of our deep connections and shared grief even with people we don't know.
The past three Sundays have been really remarkable for me as I have found myself - seeming by accident - in the three churches where I served in ministry besides Karl Road : First Christian Church, Zanesville; First Christian Church, Bowling Green and Northwest Christian Church. And the memories of laughter and tears and great learning have just been amazing.
And I continue to slowly work my way through Broken Open by Elizabeth Lesser. In her chapter "No Birth, No Death" she writes about attending a talk by the Vietnamese Zen monk Thich Nhat Hanh. Here is what she wrote quoting him:
The idea of a self is an idea to be removed in order for you to touch reality.
The self is made of nonself elements. The moment you realize that, you lose all your fear.
This body is not me. These eyes are not me. It is a mistake to identify yourself with this life span, to imagine that you are separated from anything else in space or time.
You are everything at the same time.
These ideas stretch me, but I know that somehow when I am in what I call "the flow" I can let go of ego and boundaries and just live in wonder about the divine human connections that have been part of my creation and my creating.
There is grief and there is joy and they are all part of this wonder full life. My prayer for myself is that I might be awake and aware to see and experience and enjoy it all!
This is why I say always - God is good, all the time.