You Are Invited


Living Stones

Every day I am astonished by / how little I know, and discouraged,
obedient as I am to the demand to / know more — always more.
But then there is the slow seep / of light from the day,
and I look to the west where / the hills are darkening,
setting their shoulders to the night, / and the sky peppered with pillows
of mist, their bellies burnt / by the furnace of the sun.
And it is then that I notice / the invitation didn’t say, Come
armed with knowledge and a loud voice.
It only said, Come.
                               —“Come” by Andrew Colliver
          The invitation to join us for worship, for fellowship, for moral action in our communities is never qualified.  You are welcome to come as you are.  With all that you are.  No matter where you’ve been.  No matter the baggage that you carry.  Regardless of income, education, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, ability level, age, background. . . .  You are invited into God’s loving embrace.  You are invited into the quirky and questioning, open-minded and justice-seeking community that we embody as we seek to live ever more faithfully into who God is calling each one of us to be . . . and what God is calling us – as a community – to do.  You are invited.  Come!

See you in church,
Christy

Resurrection - Part II


I go down to the edge of the sea.
How everything shines in the morning light!
The cusp of the whelk,
the broken cupboard of the clam, / the opened, blue mussels,
moon snails, pale pink and barnacle scarred—
and nothing at all whole or shut, but tattered, split,
dropped by the gulls onto the gray rocks and all the moisture gone.
It's like a schoolhouse / of little words, / thousands of words.
First you figure out what each one means by itself,
the jingle, the periwinkle, the scallop
       full of moonlight.

Then you begin, slowly, to read the whole story.
                          —“Breakage” by Mary Oliver

          I recently got to spend a couple of beautiful days on the Bodega Coast.  We witnessed wild and bold waves and places where the ocean churns itself into a gorgeous turquoise whenever the waves crash on rocks before hitting the coast.  I could watch the waves and the ebb and flow of the tides for hours (and I did).  And I loved seeing the magical treasures the ocean tosses up on the shore.  Before we left, I asked the ocean to send me a blessing—to throw something up on the shore for me to take home to remind me of God’s goodness and my connectedness to all things Holy.  Almost immediately, three sparkly gems washed ashore.  Now, someone else might look at my gems and see broken pieces of sea trash.  But even as I write, these gems lay before me on my desk, and I see symbols of God’s grace.  These beauties inspire me to remember that   all kinds of grace rise out of brokenness.  And I know that even the story fragments of our lives work together to weave a tapestry of amazing beauty.  Even when we feel broken.  Or alone.  Or uncertain.  Or afraid.  Or angry.  Even when the world seems to conspire against us and toss us—broken—on the shore, we are always and forever baptized in God’s love.  We are glittering reminders that God’s love and grace are alive and well.  We, too, are part of the story of resurrection.

See you in church,
Christy

Resurrection


At the start of spring I open a trench / in the ground.  I put into it
the winter's accumulation of paper, / pages I do not want to read
again, useless words, fragments, / errors.  And I put in it
the contents of the outhouse / light of the sun, growth of the ground,
finished with one of their journeys.
To the sky, to the wind, then, / and to the faithful trees, I confess
my sins:  that I have not been happy / enough, considering my good luck,
have listened to too much noise, / have been inattentive to wonders,
have lusted after praise.
And then upon the gathered refuse / of mind and body, I close the trench,
folding shut again the dark, / the deathless earth.  Beneath that seal
the old escapes the new.
                               —“A Purification” by Wendell Berry

          The stories of our lives are all about birth, death, and resurrection.  In one way or another, this theme runs through everything in our world, everything we witness, and everything we know.  I don’t know a single person who has not faced some kind of devastating disappointment or loss.  I don’t know of a single blooming plant that doesn’t originate from the accumulation of previous deaths.  I don’t know any way that newness can emerge without acknowledging and releasing something of the old.  And ultimately, this is also the story of our faith.  God continually reaches out to us—no matter our pain, grief, uncertainty, insecurity—no matter what graves we may have dug for ourselves.  And God pulls us out and lures us forward—offering us new life in both astonishing and ordinary ways.  We are always being invited to take the next step, to risk loving, to risk losing, to seek belonging, and to trust that we are not alone on the journey.  Easter faith invites us to believe that death is never the end of the story.  We are held and accompanied by a gracious God who risked it all to stand by our side today.

See you in church,
Christy