well...it's been awhile. about a year and a week. it was a pretty intense year in a lot of ways - good and bad. I've had some adventures and some personal growth, I'll tell you some stories at another time. Remind me, if I don't remember - cruise tales, sermons and deep thoughts, silliness, strange dreams (most recently, a chocolate chip cookie bake off with my sister Susan while Denise was trying to have me cook dinner. Chicken and broccoli. Which clearly has some deeper connotations...but I digress.)
What I have been marinating on over the last few days is the Christmas carol O Holy Night. I delivered the message at Cove UMC in Coleman Falls on December 27. I've spoken there many times and I love that group of people. They accomplish the task of being a church so very well...they just love so well. It is a small congregation but they watch out for each other and reach out into the community with an open heart. They are so welcoming.
So, this message that I delivered was based around the lines from the carol "Long lay the world in sin and error pining, till He appeared and the soul felt its worth..." I'll put the whole text on a post for anyone who wants to read it - here.
I think that Father Greg Boyle said it best in his book Tattoos On the Heart: "how is it not the job description of human beings seeking kinship? It's about appearing...remembering we belong to one another, and letting souls feel their worth.
But here's the twist - I went there expecting to deliver a message: that we have the opportunity every day to help souls feel their worth. And I hope to embody that message. I don't do it perfectly, but I'm going to keep trying to help everyone I encounter know that they are worthy of my attention and respect and understanding. Let's all get on board with that...
But the twist? I got so much more from that interaction than I gave.
These wonderful people showed me - and my soul felt its worth. They hugged me and said that my message had touched them...or my (tentative and congregation-supported) acapella singing of O Holy Night at the message conclusion was appreciated. And I remembered something...hey, God loves me too. And a beautiful little lady had brought me cookies because she knew I was coming.
And my soul felt its worth.
It has been ... and to some degree continues to be ... a bit of a pressure cooker. But to all of you - yes, you who help show me my worth - thanks.
I'll stop by more often. Till then, some of the old stuff is still good - post a link to your favorite post in the comments.