Saturday, May 27, 2017

Up In the Air

That is the title of the sermon that I am going to be preaching tomorrow in Zanesville as I begin filling in for Dawn Remster on her sabbatical.  I am preaching on the Ascension of Jesus who goes "up in the air" and ascends to God the father.

I finished - even printed (!)  - the sermon this morning and after hours of struggle found that it made sense and I look forward to delivering it tomorrow.  But all during the struggle of writing I was truly "up in the air."  That is what I talk about some - that part of what I think is the human condition - all the ways in which we are "up in the air."  On the computer I learned that "up  in the air" is an idiom that means "not yet resolved, finished, answered, decided or certain."  That says it all for me - that is how I live most of the time.

This week I did a funeral for Yvonne Hardenbrook a poet who lived at Oakleaf who I came to know and love when I preached over there in the past. I spoke after the service with one of her friends and we talked religion and how open we both were to different paths that lead to God.  However, I found myself saying how much I liked being a Christian for one reason only - the grace of God that is taught and lived out  in Jesus.  As I said to her - I live my life in a lot of confusion and self doubt and the understanding and the experience of grace is what is really my anchor.  That is what gives me peace.

And so, I guess I just wanted to write this morning about how blessed I feel by my faith as I venture into a summer of service to First Christian Church in Zanesville.  Completing this first sermon of the summer reminds me that the spirit that can guide and inspire is real as I moved this week from being up  in the air writing to this place of peace as I prepare to pastor these people.

Yvonne wrote a beautiful poem that I read at her funeral that really speaks to me

What We Miss Awake
by Yvonne Hardenbrook

What we see
is never all there is.
We drowsily salute the bright-edged
clouds of dawn, in full sun
close our eyes. Again
at sunset we comment on the flame,
say nothing of the subtle
easter sky.

What we miss awake
we see in dreams, distorted
for paid seers to explain
If not dreams then letters,
your words of love I saw and never
recognized. These forty years
the ink has dried on pages folded
tight and ribbon-tied.

They spill into the fire, the ribbon
last. I tell you, I did not see
till now the face of love.

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