At the close of a LONG day...

As this day comes to a close, I am feeling like I've been hit with that nasty stomach flu bug that apparently is knocking everybody on their ass for about 24 hours. Gonna chill in just a moment but wanted to not that in spite of the aches, this has been a totally beautiful day. As noted earlier, it began when my neighbor came to rescue me with his massive snow-blower. That meant I only had to devote one hour to snow removal instead of three!  This was a killer storm that looks lovely - and is truly stunning - but very deep, heavy and wet.

+ The snow kept a lot of people home from worship today - and that was too bad because it was to be our first "Fifth Sunday" inter-generational worship for All Saints Day and there were some special things planned - but the 40+ folks who did show up really made things pop!  Some of our little ones even dressed as modern day saints - people they admire - and my buddy Ethan came as... me!

+ I had lots of little helpers for worship today: two girls who helped me share the liturgy - one read scripture and the other joined me serving the Eucharist - and a few little guys helped me act out the Prayer of Confession along with a variety of adults. They were very serious but also spontaneous - alive and connected with the totaly of worship - which was a real ttreat for me and everyone else - God included, yes? 

+ And then during my "conversation about faith," this little guy told a story about his first time in church about 2 years ago. (NOT, let me repeat, NOT with us at First Church.) He said that after worshiping with the congregation for a few weeks, he went up for Eucharist with his dad. He was handed the host by the priest but when it was made clear that he had not yet been baptized (apparently during a mid-Eucharistic conversation?) he just tousled the child's hair and moved him along saying, "God bless you, my child." 

There was a collective gasp in the congregation when the story ended - but then his father added, "And he snatched back the bread, too!"  To which the church cried out, "Oh my Lord!"  I was so proud of this little guy for telling us this story out loud when I asked, "So what do you remember about your first time in worship?"  Can you believe it?  I get different theologies and traditions, but I had to ask, "Ok, in that moment do you think Jesus really cared whether this child was baptized?  Don't get me wrong, I believe and trust in the sacraments but taking the bread out of a child's hand at the Lord's table?!"  Man, that is just wrong.

Interestingly, when I finished my message and asked if there were any questions, two people asked, "So how do you come to receive Holy Communion here?" One man even said, "Is everyone really welcome here?" (He comes from a tradition that practices closed communion and told me afterwards, "You are all so used to being open and radically inclusive that you might forget that radical hospitality isn't normative in the Body of Christ... I am so glad to be with you."  I was blessed in spades by that conversation.

So, while the snow changed everything, it was all for the good.  Our guest musician was unable to join us so I got the children to help me sing and play the hymns on guitars.  We had little guys serving as ushers, too.  And when they seemed to wander away with the offering plates (they were actually making sure EVERYONE had a chance to make a contribution) we just improvised for a bit and sent an adult to shepherd them back on track.  It was precious - a truly inclusive and gently loving gathering where we opened our hearts to God and everyone felt welcomed. (Thank you to Ted and Sara and everyone who worked so hard to include so many: YOU guys are the saints!)


Black Pete said…
Kairos and Providence on steroids, man.

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