Sunday, January 6, 2008


January 6th. Today, a celebration. A commemoration. A remembrance. And an experience.

Of what, is the question. Of Theophany, is the answer.

Whether it is the Eastern tradition of Christ’s baptism by John. Or whether it is the Western tradition of the Magi.

It is the evidence of God among us. God in human form.

But most pertinent for us today, the Holy Spirit. The God among us, literally. Daily. Now. Still now. Evermore now.

So this morning at worship, the usual lion six feet at the shoulder walked among us, throughout the congregation, raising the hairs on the back of my neck with his close passing. His brushing against me. A low rumble in his throat. My diaphragm nervous as mayflies rising from a river.

So this morning, the little girls in pink. Two of them. Who I could not take my eyes off of and visa versa. Smiling. Taking my finger. Gripping it. Gripping it hard and laughing.

So this morning, the young woman who looks as though someone had put her head in a vice—her face in a vice—and squeezed it down. Squashed it. Sitting in her wheelchair, saying hello and smiling.

So this morning, the men whose wives have left them, one of them tearful. Sharing their morning with us.

So this morning, the women whose husbands have left them. All throughout us.

So this morning, a man says to me how he always looks forward to coming to church in part because there I will be, smiling. That wonderful smile. He says. Shaking my hand.

So this morning, the man who is raising his grandchildren, arriving by cab, because of a flat tire. And so many things to do today. His many miles and meetings and goings and comings yet today. But first there will be that tire.

So this morning, an African-American woman of remarkable gentleness and intensity who remained in the back with all us sinners.

So this morning, many new people who I have never seen before. Some of them joyful. Some of them worried. Some of them reticent. Some of them all of these.

So this morning, the senior pastor and his lovely sermon about many things. About who we are here in this church. This world-wide church. About what we’re about here in the church of Jesus. About how we’re really just a bunch of hopeful lovers. God-loving people who are all trying to love God and maybe understand a little of what that means as we go.

So this morning, Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. A time for everything under heaven.

So this morning, a young woman smiling, delighted, with her parents and her boyfriend. The girl with whom I once planted squash. Now showing off her boyfriend.

So this morning, babies and toddlers by the dozens making noise, tugging at their mothers and fathers and teachers. Let me go, let me go, they seem to be saying, alternately laughing and spunky all the while.

So this morning, I keep thinking of Juno. The movie. The character. The sixteen year old girl who makes a baby out of wedlock and gives it to a woman, whose husband is leaving her and who has wanted a baby all her life. And now she has one. And is happy. And the girl herself. Who remarkably loves The Stooges, Iggy and The Stooges. Just like me. Who falls in love with the baby’s father throughout the pregnancy. A movie that I saw last night with my bride and that informs my morning.

So this morning, the snow all melting. The ice all melting. The green grass appearing. The fog hanging like a cloud. A celestial cloud. White. Dense as a substance. The very substance of heaven. A cloud of unknowing, if ever there was one. Hovering everywhere we look, as we move slowly back and forth, over all the earth.

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