So this is the first time (well, this year at least -- I think I might have done it once before in nearly 150 posts) that I've posted a sermon. I wish I had posted my Thanksgiving sermon with the previous post, but I didn't. So today I'm posting links to two. I seem to be obsessed with gratitude this week -- there are worse things to be obsessed with!
There they are! Now you can read them if you choose, or not if you don't!
Speaking of gratitude, what a great day it has been! Church was great. We switch to Rite I in Advent (also Lent -- traditional, nearly Elizabethan language, a more penitential tone), and we do a lighting of the Advent candle(s) (only 1 today of course) during the service.
Since it's the last Sunday of the month, I've begun to do anointing and laying on of hands for healing after the service. This is really pretty popular. Today, the third month I've done this, I had maybe 10 people, all of whom were anointed for themselves, a couple of whom also asked prayers for others. I've got to say that this is one of the most fulfilling sacraments that I do as a priest (anointing is a sacrament in the catholic (small c) tradition). I think God marked and called me as a healer even when I didn't know it, back when I was a therapist. Now I do know it's not me who's the healer, really -- but I get to be the vessel through which God heals -- or at least reminds people of God's healing will for them. I've always treasured our Wednesday service of Eucharist and Healing -- but this recent addition on Sunday is Also very precious and life-giving to me.
I love this Advent book group! I love Marcus Borg (don't tell)! His chapter on the prophets blew me away. Part of what I love is his story of his own experience, how the various meanings and interpretations of the prophetic writings became layered and nuaanced for him. It leads me to reflect on my own religious experience, and the layers and depth and nuance that is still a living part of my faith journey. I took Old Testament in seminary with one of the primo Old Testament scholars in the world (specializing in the prophets, incidentally), and his parting message to us is that Scripture, while timeless, must be re-interpreted for each generation of Christians, so it remains fresh and relevant, rather than a dusty old book up on the top shelf in the library. Borg's comments on the Exodus stories only reinforced what we learned and experienced with the Kerygma study our group just did. It's so amazing that this stuff lives and applies now just as much as it did then.
And then I came home, put my turkey carcass in the soup pot with carrots, onions, and celery (and some water, of course), and just simmered it all afternoon. I've turned it off to cool; I'll put it in the fridge tonight, and tomorrow I'll skim off the fat, and also skim out all the bones and veggie scraps, feeding pieces of gristle and skin to my kids (the dogs, of course). Then I can heat it all again, add some fresh veggies, spices, and some Minnesota-grown wild rice that someone gave me, and cut up a few chunks of the turkey meat (a good use for white meat -- is it clear I prefer the dark meat for sandwiches?), and have a lovely soup. Yum, yum, my mouth is already watering.
After the carcass went on to cook, I took a big, deep sleep on the sofa, with BBC America droning away. I don't know what was on while I slept, but as I awoke, I got to see another show about penguins. I love penguins. Those deep sleeps are a little harder to wake from, but so very good and restful and satisfying.
Oh, and before that, I spent considerable time watching C-Span. I'm almost embarrassed to admit this, because I'm sure most folks think C-Span is very boring or nerdy. But I watched a panel from Emory University discuss raising the tone and quality of public discourse, and a couple of book discussions. I find this even more compelling than "Sleepless in Seattle." What's wrong with me, that I'd prefer watching P.J. O'Rourke, with whom I don't even agree (but he is kind of cute), to Tom Hanks & Meg Ryan? It just seems to feel really good to get my brain cells tickled once in a while.
Then this evening I watched TV for a while (some network dreck for my "junk food" quota, then a couple of amazing PBS shows, one called "Christmas in Yellowstone" that was awesome). I did some reading and journaling, and now talking to all of you.
Overall, I couldn't really ask for a better Sunday. Yay! I hope to talk to you all more than I have till now.