So far I'm three for three in going to church this year. I'm not sure I'll go four for four, since Church of the Village typically starts at 10:30 and is often still going strong at noon. Doesn't that add up to a few skip days?! Today I slipped out early (at noon!), but I'm still really glad I went.
One MLK weekend at Myers Park UMC, we joined hands and sang "Lift Every Voice and Sing" during Church in the Round. I guess a lot of churches do that, but I'd never really noted it. Ever since, singing that song has been one of my favorite moments of this holiday weekend. Today at COTV may have topped it, as they did not only that traditional spiritual, but also a very lively rendition of Stevie Wonder's "Happy Birthday" to MLK, complete with exhortations to clap and dance along.
It was really a joyful and joy-filled service...complete with a sermon from this guy:
Rev. David Briddell was a classmate of Dr. King at Boston University School of Theology. In introducing him, our senior minister, "Bishop J," who used to be the bishop over the New Jersey conference of the UMC, told a story about placing Rev. Briddell over a New Jersey church during a time of high sensitivity regarding a "God Hates Fags" march.
I constantly go back to the idea that the struggle for marriage equality is the civil rights movement of my generation. You and I talked about that, and you agreed. It makes me really proud to be part of a church that is truly a "reconciling" congregation, open and loving to all who seek God's guidance and God's grace.
I used the trusty "golf pencil" in the pew to take a few notes, some of which are things that were said, and others are just thoughts I had:
- Dr. King gave a sermon on "tough-mindedness and tender-heartedness." Need to look that one up! What a provocative thought. Is that our ultimate call as Christians?
- Is the comfort of surrounding ourselves with people "just like us" the root of racism, sexism, classism?
- Dr. King's legacy: 1. respect for others 2. building peace nonviolently
- Legacy of God as personal -- a religion founded on gifts and goodness, not sin and depravity.
- Prophets are those who stand up against unjust power structures. Who/where are our prophets today?
- Where/How do Christians commit the "sin of silence" today? What injustices are we witnessing and tolerating?
After the service, I popped into Monument Lane for brunch, where I should have gone with my initial craving and ordered the fried chicken and waffles! Instead, I went with the deconstructed pastrami sandwich, which was interesting but didn't exactly hit the spot.
IN my last year on Wall Street my bonus was $3.6 million — and I was angry because it wasn’t big enough. I was 30 years old, had no children to raise, no debts to pay, no philanthropic goal in mind. I wanted more money for exactly the same reason an alcoholic needs another drink: I was addicted.