Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Random Dots of Wednesday

  • The secretary is away for a few days this week. Fewer people come into the office when she is away...they come in to chitchat or gossip with her. In contrast, when they come in to see me, it's usually some sort of crisis of body or heart or mind or soul. I like the quiet of the office these few days. I'm getting a lot of writing done and preparing for the arrival of our summer seminary intern. I need to bring together a lay committee to support her in her time with us. So should I give her some of the (ahem) challenging folks, so she can learn to negotiate her role with them? Should I give her the grandmotherly types, who will ply her with cookies and tell her all the parish gossip? Should I include a young person, to bring a different voice into the room? We shall see where the Spirit will lead.

  • Last meeting of our Interfaith Clergy Group yesterday. A delight, thanks to the hospitality of our Baptist brother. Just as delightful as the food was the conversation. What a joy to sit around and talk theologically with a group of diverse people (in every sense) who are theologically educated! We talked about the five things the church has dropped the ball on (we came up with economic and educational justice, racism, sexism, homophobia, and talking more about what is enough in our lives). I also heard a description of hell that I hadn't encountered before: "My grandmother said it was so hot that if there was a stairway made of razor blades, you'd run up it in a heartbeat to escape the heat." And another recalled something she had heard in seminary, that hell is a place that demonstrates God's graciousness in that God loves us all so much, and is so generous to all, that he provides a wall for those who have chosen to step away from his presence. An interesting twist on the idea that hell is the absence of God's presence. We prayed for one of our number who is undergoing family stress, and another two who are contemplating merging their two churches, since neither is big enough to really support a church on its own. We talked about opening people's hearts and minds to a more expansive view of Christ's saving grace. I love these folks, their generous hearts, their sharp minds, their comfort in serving the folks where they are rather than always looking forward to a bigger pulpit.I learn every time we meet, and I'm honored to be stepping into the chairmanship of this group for the coming year.

  • Family wedding this weekend. I am looking forward to it tremendously, especially because the bride's grandfather is conducting the ceremony. Busman's holiday of sorts, but it's a delight to be able to go and be present and enjoy! I understand my nephew, who is busily studying religion in college, is getting ready to ask me all sorts of questions about the Nicene Creed. I think I'll bring excerpts from Augustine's "Anti-Pelagian Letters" with me, just for giggles. PH and I are singing a duet - "Jesus, Like a Shepherd Lead Us," which was sung at their parents' and grandparents' wedding. Pray that the allergies are kept at bay and that I sing the first line right.

  • Speaking of the wedding, I am charged with making the Groom's Cake. We have a Texas-shaped cake pan, since the groom is from TX, and the cake will be a two-layer almond cake with peach cream filling and vanilla buttercream, with marzipan yellow roses. The cake layers are made and frozen. I will make the cream filling tonight, and start on the marzipan roses. It will all have to be done and frozen by tomorrow night, so it arrives safely in PA on Friday afternoon. Haven't done serious pastry work in a while, so I'm feeling a little rusty. If it turns out halfway decent, I'll post a picture of it for you.

  • Time to go prepare for the noon Eucharist with healing prayers. I expect the attendance will be sparse, since several of the usual attendees are away on a gambling holiday at Dover Downs. They always promise to donate 10% of their winnings, and I always have mixed feelings about it all. The good news is that this is simply low-stakes fun rather than addiction. Still.

  • Thinking about the folks in Joplin. An old colleague of mine lives there...haven't been able to find out if he and his family are okay. Sigh. It's a tough world out there. Praying for all who have been affected.

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