we all get lost now and then….
we all get lost now and then….
last Sunday i had the honor of the pulpit at All Souls Unitarian Universalist of Putnam County
it was one of the most difficult services i have ever done.
The Story for all Ages came to me in a journey dream inspired by many ancient stories of trust. please watch and share, stories work best told and heard.
I started writing this sermon two weeks ago… the working title was ‘Truth and Trust: In the current conversations of truth, truthiness and what is fake news…
What is the Good News? What does it mean to Trust?’
Then on Valentine’s Day came the Parkland Massacre, to simply call it a shooting belies what occurred, and is still occurring for those living with the trauma. I then rewrote it on that Wednesday, and again on Thursday, and again and again – for we clergy have all written too many of these sermons these days… but this one is different. It broke me open. and i am not alone. perhaps you are feeling a bit broken too… this is for you, all of You.
We sang hymn #34 in the hymnal “Singing the Living Tradition”, also known as # 693 in the Presbytarian hymnal, and #372 in the United.
‘Though I May Speak with Bravest Fire”
and we closed with the same tune, new lyrics
Go in Peace, Go in Love
knowing you are loved.
deeply. authentically. originally.
Please join me for new story for the season than i received last Saturday nite, I like to call them ‘New Mythologies for the New Age” and a sermon for us all.
Seasons of thanksgiving have been twisted and torn, by family strive and historic shadows… How can we be happy for what we have and still honor those who sacrificed for it?
We can. The question is how?
Presented at All Souls Unitarian Universalist of Putnam in Palatka, Florida on November 19, 2017.
As a minister, I am often asked for my thoughts and prayers… and am often called to offer my thoughts and prayers… today is no different… I wish it was..
My thoughts and prayers?
We have a problem in this country with men, and anger and guns.
MEN. ANGER. GUNS.
My prayers are that we stop seeing these as separate issues, and understand that are linked together.
It is my experience that the Divine speaks to us continuously, not only thru sacred texts of the past, but in our present lives thru metaphors and in the stories of our lives.
This was in a CHURCH.
He was white.
He was male.
He had a gun.
And each one of these will get a group rallying….
No, religion is not the cause of all evil.
And no, of course he wasn’t in his right mind when he did this! As my grandfather used to say, “Don’t kill what you won’t eat.” Anything else is madness.
And it is irrelevant whether he was legally allowed to have a gun… he did.
And we can not find either media’s comfort zone of their definition of terrorist…. be it Muslim, Mexican, Black… or even White Supremacist….. because single. white. male…
And there are enough single white males that they can not be considered lone wolves anymore!
They have their own pack, if indeed such a thing existed, which it doesn’t… because packs are families. That is the real story of the wolf pack…. and we as members of the human family have failed him, and all his victims.
Earlier today, I was speaking with a friend, before we knew about today’s fresh horror, and she said if I hear ‘thoughts and prayers’ one more time I’m gonna … because it really doesn’t help, does it, and not that I don’t believe in prayer or that thoughts don’t matter but… and our words tumbled over each other as we held on the power of friendship in these times of fear and terror.
And then my phone rang.
And once again I turned on my media to see the latest story of pain and suffering….
The story is told again, so we can listen. Will we?
26 dead, 27 physically wounded… a congregation that truly was a family church has deep internal, invisible wounds and a small town is shattered.
The Patriarchy with its archaic rules of power and fear has claimed more victims,
Who is neither gendered, nor patriarchal weeps and longs for us to listen.
So my thoughts are these:
I ask you to ask yourself,
Not what are ’they’ gonna do about this pain and suffering…
Ask yourself, “what am I gonna do about this pain and suffering?”
Let every step you take be an active prayer for peace.
A wounded soldier wounded our world today, he was white, he was male, he Had. A. Gun.
This is my prayer, that we may listen to the voice of the Divine.
Act with loving kindness with your eyes wide open.
We have been too angry for too long, we have been too scared for too long, and we have too many guns and too many ways to hurt each other.
I pray we learn to heal ourselves and each other as well.
But we must pray with more than our hearts,
And we must act up close and personal.
Are you angry? Hurt? Do you feel alone?
Do you have a gun?
Do you know someone who feels like this?
We must use our hands and our feet.
With everyone we meet. No exceptions.
I had the honor of being in the pulpit at All Souls Unitarian Universalist of Putnam County, telling sacred stories and important ones –
and a sermon:
We shine and shimmer like the sun on the water…
We are all reflections of You.
I remember a basement apartment Filled with laughter and hope
I remember the candy store on the corner…
We survived on egg creams and pizza and pirogue!
We lived in the alphabet – anything was possible.
We were holy and profane.
I remember the 3 flight walk up,
Above Brothers and Sisters on Theater Row…
Eight of us lived there in two rooms until I moved next door
And music filtered up from Barbara Allen’s…
It has changed too.
I remember the 5 foot walk up
With the Chinese restaurant on the corner
(They served the food on pedestals under domed steel)
Before it became an Ann Taylor
Before it was all torn down for a luxury high rise
With a Starbucks where the…what was on that other corner
It took away all my afternoon and evening light..
In those days I only faced West.
I remember the 6 flight walk-up
With the toilet in a closet in the hall
And the bathtub in the kitchen
On a street filled with coffee houses and music and bad poetry
(And sometimes good too)
I remember 110 steps up from an elevated train into
The woods of Manhattan
Filled with children of all
Languages and faiths and colors.
I remember when I had buns of steel and was climbing to the stars.
I remember when the twin towers fell,
And the horror of it mixed with incredible feelings of loss and belonging…
Belonging to New York, to each other, to this Earth.
And I think perhaps we are not longing for the buildings of the past,
As much as those feelings of belonging.
Perhaps misunderstand nostalgia…
Is it simply a Divine imprint in our hearts
Reminding us we belong?
Holy and profane,
We always belong.
And with fingers crossed in hope and prayer
It has been sent away to hospital,
or perhaps Frankenstein’s laboratory for devices with names.
And the tablet crashed …too old to save…
And thus my life support vanishes..
Books and stories trapped in a hull of hope….
Incomplete manuscripts, and bad poems,
Pictures of ink and children…
And I realized how very attached I am to it all…..
And feeling quite shamed
that I did not learn the proper way to salvations in the digital age,
I find myself surrounded by benefactors and crows…
All speaking to me of belonging.
All is forgiven,
the real question is, not, “are you forgiven?”
But can you forgive yourself,