my sweet lord...

One of my all-time favorite songs is George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord." Yes, I know he had to pay out the wazoo for ripping off the Chiffon's for "He's So Fine" - and the similarities are all too obvious - but no more obvious than "Hang on Sloopy" vs. "Farmer John" or even "Louie, Louie," yes? Well, anyway, I digress(or as Groucho Marx would say... pardon me while I have a strange interlude.)

Back to "My Sweet Lord" - today's worship was gentle and healing and grounded in a tender sense of God's grace - my friend and musical colleague, Jessica Roemischer, was our guest pianist and she brought her friend, Tanny, a special needs musician who plays improvisational piano with her. We prayed, talked about faith as trust and commitment and then listened to the musical meditations of Jessica and Tanny. Cumulatively we sensed that amidst all the worries over the economy, our families and the state of the church, God really was still in charge and it was all fine. Not easy but... in the grasp of one who's love is greater than our imagination.

Two different people spoke to me after worship today of how important our emerging community is: both have been parts of other churches and both are clear that they NEED a community. That is one of the gifts that I think we are growing here: a community of faith - not a collection of individuals - but a body where Christ is alive within and among us. Another young man embraced me with gusto and said, "You have been in my heart all week long, man." And he wasn't bullshitting me. (NOTE: Dianne's mother still wavers between recovery from her stroke and hard times... and we will be on a roller coaster for a while.) Then a man with whom I share a love of music and spiritual exploration spoke to me of working on a project to get the word of God's grace out to the wider community through podcasts. It was another affirmation and I felt blessed - just like George Harrison sang!

And when I worked on my garden - OMG - it was a little bit of heaven on earth. One of the things I missed in the Southwest was gardening. I love getting my hands dirty. I cherish raking leaves and planting seeds. I dance when the daffodils blossom - and with temperatures hovering about 65 today - it was a total "Dancing in the Streets" kinda afternoon.

So as the day comes to a close, I rejoice in the blessings. There will be hard times in the days to come. Dianne's mother is still not out of the woods. There will be debates and difficulties as we work on this church renewal. And God knows my own insecurities and addictions will raise their ugly heads when I least expect it and get the best of me. But... as Julian of Norwich noted amidst the Black Death of the 14th century plagues: "all shall be well, all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well."

Dig this small sign of hope and God's wellness in the wider world from the YMCA in Jerusalem...


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