As I was driving to church the other morning, my mind wandered. I arrived at Des Moines Street and realized that I had driven most of the commute without paying any attention. I don’t even remember the price of gas (paying attention to gas prices is a habit I picked up from my father). I don’t remember if the light at Irvinedale was red or green. I don’t recall much of anything from the trip.
This week we celebrated Independence Day. Our grilled delicacies and fireworks, parades, and musical tributes celebrate freedom. That is as it should be. Nearly 250 years ago something occurred that formed a nation and advanced the notion of human freedom to new heights. For this, I give thanks.
Things around Holy Trinity have been a bit busy. But it’s not the usual kind of busy.
It all started later in the afternoon on Sunday. A bunch of people showed up and then started having all sorts of fun. I know, I know, you’re probably thinking that I needed to step in and do something because having fun in church is just something we’re not supposed to do. But I didn’t know what to do, so I just watched as these people were having fun here in the building.
My shoes clicked on the tiled floor as I walked into the quiet room. It was a small well-kept room with a single bed and a couple of chairs. There was Joan as she slept quietly. Her breathing was shallow, and her face would sometimes scrunch up as if she was dreaming something or having a conversation with someone that I couldn’t see.
Last Sunday was the second Sunday of Pentecost and the beginning of Ordinary Time.
Ordinary Time. So much of every life is spent doing ordinary things. When we go through life, we observe so many things that we would consider to be ordinary things. And because they are ordinary, we don’t seem to remember them. If you question this, just try to remember what you ate for supper last week or last month.
I write this on the anniversary of D-Day, the day where we remember the unimaginable and incalculable sacrifice of men who struggled, suffered, and died to turn the tide of World War II. Many of them never left the beaches and battlefields of Normandy and rest there to this day. Those who survived left a piece of themselves in that place, physically, mentally, spiritually. The sacrifice made should humble us. It should engender our respect and honor. We should recognize the cost paid to turn back powers that were engaged in the inhuman enterprise of death and destruction.
I find myself in a weird disposition of late. Maybe you have felt that same way. Maybe you are like me wondering what is happening to the world. When I check out my news feed on my phone, there are always articles about something awful that happened in the past 12 hours. It seems like the world is on fire.
Perhaps you are keenly aware of the public discussions of something called “Christian Nationalism.” On the other hand, you may be relatively unfamiliar with this movement. It would take a lengthy reflection with lots of words to define, dissect, and dialogue with this growing phenomenon. You don’t have time to read it. I don’t have time to write it (at least today). Yet, it does seem important to shed a little light on the matter.
We all go through tough times in life. Times that are turbulent and unsettling. During these challenging seasons, it can be extremely helpful to have someone walk alongside us, especially if they give us encouragement and hope.
“I just can’t watch or listen to the news anymore, Pastor. It is too much.” I nodded my head and said I knew exactly what he meant. I hear this from many of you, and feel it in my own heart, on a regular basis. The suffering and pain of this world is enormous. It is overwhelming. It has so many dimensions that one can’t figure out where to start.