“A Rose By Any Other Name Would Smell as Sweet…”
Regathering… resuming…emerging… unsheltering…
 

I’ve come across a number of gerunds of questionable construction as the church seeks to avoid using the word “reopening” as a way of insisting – rightly I believe – that the church never closed.  The building, perhaps, but the church is the people, and as the church, we have been open for business continuously for roughly 2000 years.  And counting.

 
Earlier this week I received a copy of the UCC Still-Speaking Writer’s Group’s newest resource, titled, Emerge:  Blessings & Rituals for Unsheltering.  If you’d like a copy of your own, you can order it here.
 

It’s a slim volume, and in all honesty, feels as though it was put together in a hurry, which it probably was.  But there are many devout and witty – because a sense of humor is a solid necessity these days – blessings, rituals, litanies, poems and prayers in here, and by now you and I know these writers well enough to recognize both their individual and collective personalities.  I’ll be reading one by Matt Laney during worship this Sunday; here is a prayer by Mary Luti that I’d wager many of us wish we’d had when we glimpsed our first unmasked co-shopper at the grocery store or wherever it is that we first encountered them:
 

Meditation for When People Who Ignore Safety
Recommendations Are Making You Mad as Heck

 
Jesus, you said pray for your enemies.
There’s sneaky wisdom in that.
If you’re really praying for someone
it’s a lot harder to hate them,
and if you keep it up sincerely over time
you might even start to love them.
What happens after that is anybody’s guess.
My guess, good Jesus,
is that it all leads to meeting you in them
and to discovering that they are wounded, too.
What happens then, once I know that?
Once I learn we share one single shattered heart?
I’ve never been there, Jesus, I don’t know.
But as the heat rises in my brain,
the censure, consternation, and the rage, I wish I did.
Because right now I just want to haul off and pummel them,
smack some sense into them, smack them good.
Teach me to pray.

 
Good to know I’m not the only one.
 

Here is the link to Sunday’s bulletin and to our Facebook Live page for Sunday’s service.

And as it is the first Sunday in August, we will be celebrating communion, so remember your grain and cup of choice!

     Alan

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