This past weekend was pure delight! The dedication of the Tricentennial Prayer Garden. The joy-filled worship with uplifting music. The fellowship time during lunch at Adelphia. It was a wonderful reminder of our history and the many ministries over the past 300 years. Throughout this weekend, we were reminded that our call as disciples is to love our neighbor and we have done that faithfully since 1721, but we have turned a corner.
It is now time to look forward to the next 300 years, and I believe that the prayer at the end of my sermon from Brian Doyle makes it clear to the church that our call is to continue the “original assignment” – to love!! It is my continued prayer that we will look forward and find new ways of demonstrating Christ’s love locally, nationally and internationally. Please find Doyle’s poem in its entirety: “Furious Prayer for the Church I Love and Have Always Loved but Which Drives Me Insane with Its Fussy Fidgety Prim Tin-Eared Thirst for Control and Rules and Power and Money Rather Than the One Simple Thing the Founder Insisted On” From: A Book of Uncommon Prayer: 100 Celebrations of the Miracle and Muddle of the Ordinary by Brian Doyle.
Granted, it’s a tough assignment, the original assignment. I get that. Love—Lord help us, could we not have been assigned something easier, like astrophysics or quantum mechanics? But no—love those you cannot love. Love those who are poor and broken and fouled and dirty and sick with sores. Love those who wish to strike you on both cheeks. Love the blowhard, the pompous ass, the arrogant liar. Find the Christ in each heart, even those. Preach the Gospel and only, if necessary, talk about it. Be the Word. It is easy to advise and pronounce and counsel and suggest and lecture; it is not so easy to do what must be done without sometimes shrieking. Bring love like a bright weapon against the dark.
The Rabbi did not say build churches, or retreat houses, or secure a fleet of cars for general use, or convene conferences, or issue position papers. He was pretty blunt about the hungry and the naked and the sick. He was not reasonable; we forget this. The Church is not a reasonable idea. The Church should be a verb. When it is only a noun it is not what the Founder asked of us. Let us pray that we are ever after dissolving the formal officious arrogant thing that wants to rise, and ever fomenting the contradictory revolutionary counter-cultural thing that could change life on this planet. It could, you know. Let’s try again today. And so: amen.
May we bring love like a bright weapon against the dark!!