You may have noticed that I haven't posted in a while. I could blame this on the distractions of my senior pastor going on vacation, the visits of multiple family members, and a police standoff/shooting in my apartment complex, but those aren't the reasons. In fact, I've sat in front of this computer screen several times in the last few weeks and typed half-posts, but I kept losing the thread of my thoughts halfway through. All of the thoughts seemed half-formed, and I couldn't seem to draw them together coherently.
I'm still struggling, so instead of offering you my half-formed thoughts tonight, I'll share with you a written gift that was given to me today.
Since my birthday is coming up, two of my friends, fellow-clergy who share my love of clergy and theology, brought a feast to my apartment. They gave me things to set my table (placemats, cloth napkins with napkin rings, and a vase of flowers) and brought a delicious meal. Then, as we sat down to our feast, my friends produced a liturgy, which we read aloud together. It touched my heart with its humor, creativity, and kindness. I hope it does the same for you.
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to the Lord
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God
It is right to give our thanks and praise.
It is right and a good and joyful thing always and everywhere to give thanks to you,
Almighty God, creator of heaven and earth, Lauren, and new friendships.
You formed us in your image, breathed into Lauren the breath of life 25 years ago,
and in-spired a new generation of clergywomen con-spiring in re-creation.
When people of the church turn away, pointing to God "over there",
when Jack Lemmon fails,
your love remains steadfast, right "here" at work in us, through us and the world.
You delivered Lauren from the captivity of licensing school,
made covenant to be her God, God of the kazoo and yoyo.
You sent her to breathe in the good air of this place,
blow bubbles in the traffic,
a prophet preaching to stuffed animals and the people of the south side,
until justice and righteousness flow down like the hem of her bridesmaid dress.
And so, with your people on earth and all the company of heaven, we praise your name and join their unending hymn:
Holy, holy, holy, Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.
Holy are you and blessed is your Son Jesus Christ.
Your Spirit anointed him to preaching a "wonderland" to those living in "cardboard,"
to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind
(without a Britney Spears microphone),
to make toasts at wedding suppers, to suffer the heat of festivals,
to shake hands of Galileans and Pharisees,
and to announce that the time had come when you would save your people,
all while leaving his cell phone and calendar at home.
He healed the sick, fed the hungry, and drank coffee with sinners.
By the baptism of his suffering, death, and resurrection you gave birth to your church,
delivered us from slavery to sin and death,
and made with us a new covenant from the bath water of the Spirit.
When the Lord Jesus ascended into the "mystery divine," "hanging out" in the colors of a sunset sky,
he promised to be with us always in the power of your Word and Holy Spirit.
On the night in which he gave himself up for us, he took bread, gave thanks to you,
broke the bread, gave it to his disciples and said: "Take, eat, this is my body which is given for you.
Do this in remembrance of me."
When the supper was over, he took the cup, gave thanks to you, gave it to his disciples,
and said: "Drink from this, all of you: this is my blood of the new covenant,
poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.
Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me."
And so, in remembrance of these, your mighty acts in Jesus Christ,
we offer ourselves in praise and thanksgiving,
as a holy and living sacrifice, in union with Christ's offering for us,
as we proclaim the mystery of faith:
Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.
Pour out your Holy Spirit on us gathered here, Lauren, Sarah, and Amy,
and on these gifts and on this life birthed, raised to new life, and coming into the Kingdom.
Make these gifts of table and the gift of new friends be for
breaking bread, dining with the Risen Savior of the Galaxy,
opening our eyes to traveling new roads.
"Spirit show up," make us one with Christ, one with each other,
and one in ministry to all the world, until Christ comes in final victory,
and we sit picnicking by the waters of life in eternal sabbath.
Through your son Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit in your holy church, all honor and glory is yours, almighty God, now and forever. Amen.