Preparing to preach for yesterday’s worship service was… really hard. For the past year, the rhythms of prepping for a pre-recorded service mean drafting and preaching a sermon well before the day it will actually be heard. But, for a preacher like me who aims to put God’s activity in the world front and center for our community to engage, the rapidly changing news cycles can be especially hard to keep up with. So often as I write I’m stuck wondering about what will capture our attention between this sermon being recorded and being heard. And in the last seven days, that dynamic was especially hard to manage.
About 20 years ago, a group of leaders from various environmental non-profits working in the region around Yellowstone National Park began hatching a plan to counter the commonly held belief that you’re either pro-business or pro-environment but you can’t be both. They reached out to a variety of business leaders, from multiple industries, wondering if the existing business voices weighing in on environmental matters truly represented their views. They ultimately recruited a collection of business owners like me who recognized that the health of the ecosystem within which our businesses operated was intimately tied to the health of our enterprises.
When I was between my freshman and sophomore years of high school, I spent a week at camp in Montana. During the time I was away from Minnesota, my parents had packed up our household sent everything on ahead to New York, where my dad was taking a new job. While I knew this was happening (it would be pretty cruel to play a joke like that!), it was still hard not to come back “home” after being away. Then during my freshman year…
Today is the day we arrive at the cross and its presence is much more than symbolic. It joins us to God’s very self in death. And it is hard to look at. We can agree, death is hardly ever something good. And yet, that’s exactly what we call today, “Good.”
“My favorite place is sitting at the dinner table.” While this sounds like the set up for a self-deprecating joke, and I could certainly make plenty of those, I would still have to confess its truth. Yes, I love to eat, and good food and drink are the sources of much joy for me. But more importantly, around the dinner table is where I know that I connect most deeply with others.