Martlin Luther King, Jr. is reported to have said one day, "I have so much to do today, I'll have to spend an extra hour in prayer." At first glance that seems counter-intuitive. If he had so much to do, he should have cut his prayer time to 10 or 15 minutes, right? Wrong.
On Thursday, May 9, I officiated a memorial service for a friend of mine whose remains were interred at the Indiantown Gap National Cemetery outside of Harrisburg, PA. In my years in ministry, it was the first time I participated in a ceremony in which the deceased received military funeral honors. I couldn't help but be moved by the precision with which the service personnel engaged in the traditions by which "a grateful nation" said thank you to my friend's family.
I remember May Day in 1995. It was a Sunday and I was working in Odessa, Ukraine on a temporary assignment in my prior career field. I was part of a three-man team sent to privatize and Westernize the container shipping operation at the Port of Odessa. It was no easy task; undoing 70+ years of socialist business practices would prove to be a Herculean task. I'm grateful my part was only two months in length. However, I did learn to use a Cyrilic keyboard. Just one of many unexpected blessings of that trip.
Why do people come to church? Why do people join any organization for that matter? My bottom line answer is: for relationship - to make friends, to share an interest in a hobby, to join together for a cause. In other words, we are more effective in reaching our goals when we have a network of individuals who join us.
On my way to Monday night's Sacred Service Council meeting, I heard the news of the bombings that took place at the Boston Marathon. My guidance was to invite our Unity of Fairfax community to pray for those impacted by this experience. When I check our Facebook page, I noticed that the last item to be posted was a link to the coverage in the Vienna Connection of our Season for Nonviolence closing ceremony. We are already in prayer, as we have been in prayer for the establishment of "peace on earth, goodwill towards all" since our inception as a faith community.
Ahh, I love this weather! In January and February of this year, I was still living in Florida on Tampa Bay. Going kayaking was a regular occurence as was going to spend time on the powdery white sands of the Gulf of Mexico. In fact, I feel asleep on the beach and got sun burned the day before I came to Northern Virginia for my candidating weekend.
My great friend and colleague Rev. Temple Hayes at First Unity of St. Petersburg has taught me many powerful lessons about ministy and life. One of those axioms is this: if we wait for everything to be perfect, we'll never start anything. In other words, jump in!
When the psalmist wrote in Psalm 118:24 "This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it," I don't think he (or she!) had in mind April Fool's Day. Yet here it is, April 1st and the pranks are sure to abound. Is there a spiritual value to this day of pitfalls and practical jokes? Most certainly - April Fool's Day reminds us not too take ourselves so seriously. Being able to laugh at ourselves is a true gift we can give ourselves. It's served me in good stead, that's for sure!