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The recording begins with a special one-minute arrangement of We Shall Overcome sung by the Women’s Ensemble of Patty Console, Shelly Jesberger, Elizabeth Shaw and Beth Zych.
Earlier in the week as I was meditating on today’s Gospel story I was reminded of the old introduction to a comedy routine that goes something like this– “I’ve got good news and bad news. First the bad news…” This is one of those stories with a happy ending we all yearn for, but I was drawn first to the bad news, to the earlier part of the story where the disciples are far from land, battered by the waves and tossed about by fierce winds.
For those of you who drove to church this morning, how many of you had to maneuver around areas of road construction or repair? All summer long Mark and I have had to take varying routes to and from downtown, working to avoid Shaker Blvd, Richmond Rd. and now, of course, the dreaded Fairmount/Cedar Center area.
I was thinking about God this week. I guess that’s sort of my job, no? There are lots of metaphors, lots of descriptive words for God: Severe Judge, Detached watch-maker God, “the ground of all being,” loving parent, mother hen, suffering servant, inapproachable light, Mr. Fix-it.
Many years ago I met an unforgettable character. I was leaving the old Jewish Community Center at Taylor and Mayfield Road after a workout—so you know how many years ago that was– and an eighty-eight-year-old woman flagged me down and asked for a ride home. As I’ve shared this story over the years people have told me they had also met this woman, so I’m guessing she was an extrovert who made an impression everywhere she went.
When my brother and I were little kids, we collected comic books. To us, comic books were like cartoons you could hold and “watch” them whenever you wanted. This of course was pre-internet and pre-24 hour cartoon channels. In the eighties, cartoons only came on Saturday mornings and after school.
I don’t know if it’s because I start my vacation this afternoon or because we as a congregation have been through a lot lately. Maybe it’s because the energy of our country is so hyper: every day some caustic remark or divisive issue that leaves us wanting to turn off, self-medicate, or give up. Whatever the reason, these verses are powerful to me.
I’m just back, as many of you know, from a deeply moving pilgrimage to Ireland that has inspired me to do a fair amount of life review. I’ve been looking back at the defining moments of my life, at the many forks in the road I’ve come to, and the choices I’ve ultimately made.
This morning, little Elly got baptized and we remembered who we are and whose we are. By water and the Holy Spirit we are made members of the church, the body of Christ, and joined to Christ’s ministry of love, peace and justice.
Next Sunday we will hold a congregational meeting – another sacramental moment when we show who we are and whose we are, and in a very practical way we figure out in community where God is calling us at this time; as we consider our holy work.
The three lessons for today speak of God’s creative power, the love and peace of Jesus Christ, and the blessing of the Holy Spirit to go forth and spread good news. You and I who are living in the midst of time trust that God is at the beginning and at the end of the age – and Paul’s admonition to us is to live in community… we are not alone in this age and the next. That is good news indeed.