I just love the RevGalBlogPals. Peering in on their "11th hour preacher party" on Saturday evenings always fills me with a sense of relief (so glad I am relaxing at home rather than frantically writing a sermon!), a sense of envy (perhaps I'll one day be one of those sermon-writing folks!), and the realization that I have once again missed the Friday Five. So, a day late, but never a dollar short....
With their fine introduction leading me off:
"With this Sunday's gospel reading in mind, that wonderful revelation of Christ to the companions on the Emmaus road. I wonder where you might have been surprised by God's revelation recently. So, with no further waffle I offer you this weeks Friday 5: How has God revealed him/herself to you in a...."
1. Book--I have read some fine books of late. Most recent was "Take This Bread: A Radical Conversion,"* and I certainly found God quite explicitly in Sara Miles' story of an unexpected communion conversion. I'm also reading "Leading with Soul: An Uncommon Journey of Spirit"* by Bolman and Deal, and I love the happy surprise I feel when there is a message within that seems intended just for me. This is often how I recognize the ever-presence of God. In this case, I've been struggling with holding a project close to my chest, knowing all the while I need to open my circle wider and integrate some partners in more meaningful ways. I read a section on "authorship" and the gift it is to extend to colleagues the gift of authorship, and I realized I wasn't extracting from them--taking their time, their energy that could be otherwise spent in other ways. Instead, I am gifting them with the opportunity for involvement and meaningful authorship.
*Is it me, or does every book I pick up have to have a colon and subtitle??? Time for me to find a novel to read!
2. Film--This answer might seem odd, but we watched "The Business of Being Born" the other night, and I saw God as I remembered so vividly the beauty of the births of my children. I was gifted with two natural births, both different and unique....experiences that have no comparison elsewhere in my life. I remembered through watching the women of this film what it felt like to be in the throes of transition, fully present in the moment, aching to be in that "not yet" moment toward which and for which my body was stretching, and suddenly to have the calm (well, at least in the first birth!) of pushing a slippery, slithery human being from my body into the world. My gosh, is there any greater evidence of the divine than that? To be side by side with Matt as we celebrated our partnered births and our partnered life together was a gift.
3. Song--A seminary professor at ANTS (forgetting his name at the moment--so sorry!) wrote a piece that I learned at a workshop this past February. I returned home to teach it to the kids, and we sing it often. They sing it because they like the words and simple melody; I sing it because I need to. It is again about the "now and not yet" tension that is my life. The words are "We are going to a place where music falls and fills up everything. And though it might be a long time, I know it's gonna be alright. 'Cause we've already started to sing." It's a very modern-day spiritual, and whether I'm washing dishes at the sink, taking the sometimes lonely trek to work, or simply needing to take a deep breath and sing, it restores me.
4. Another person--Long pause....this should be the easy one, shouldn't it? I see God in our associate pastor, Amy, who has become a source of great encouragement to me. My friend, Cathi, passed along her ethics paper the other day, desiring to share that she happily found herself in the space of claiming the "rightness" of gay marriage. I affirmed her for her process, telling her that I would hope to affirm her process even if we didn't reach similar conclusions--but of course felt joy that we did and do. When she wrote about how profoundly my own journey has influenced her, I knew that God was somehow using my life--and that being "used" doesn't always mean being on the world's stage, as I so often assume. Sometimes it means just showing up, being oneself with integrity and authenticity, and letting the rest happen. And of course God appears in my family each and every day. That we love one another, lift one another up, and continue to bring the best of ourselves into this home is a blessing.
5. Creation--A single purple crocus has sprung forth in the middle of our expansive backyard. Need I say more?
Bonus answer: your choice- share something encouraging/ amazing/ humbling that has happened to you recently!
The other day I had the privilege of taking our new provost to lunch. She was happily asking questions; I was happily answering. Only later when I returned to my office and was again reviewing some of her accomplishments did I realize how little I had asked her--how little I had listened to hear the gifts she will bring to us. I'm excited to work with her--her arrival is in and of itself a huge gift. But giving in to the intoxication of being asked my opinion was a humbling moment. I am vowing to listen more when next I have the privilege of her company.