Tents & Foundations
Rather than a sermon excerpt this week, here are a few reflections emerging for me on the sermon I gave. This Sunday, October 18th, marked the launch of Trinity-St. Paul’s Season for Commitment. One of the things I appreciated about Trinity-St. Paul’s when I arrived is how conscious the congregation is that stewardship is about more than just financial support. When I looked through last year’s Season for Commitment packages, I was happy to see a talents and gifts pledge form alongside a financial pledge form. Another wonderful feature is the emphasis on hospitality that is part of the congregation’s tradition. This is a congregation that does not just meet one morning a week for an hour, but encourages connections, and opening our homes to each other. For everyone who will be receiving Season for Commitment letters and pledge cards this year, I hope you will respond to the wonderful tradition of this congregation in the many different aspects of commitment that are a part.
Yesterday, I talked about some of the implications of an image of a tent for our congregation. Tents: protect of from wind and rain; keep us together; can be put up, taken down, and carried with us; are a scriptural reminder of God’s closeness
Tents: can tip over if we try to pull away from each other; can be broken (or have the fly blow away) in a storm; are fragile, and not permanent
Jim Lewis reminded us that this history of this congregation began with a community worshiping in a tent – which quickly expanded, and became more permanent with a wooden structure.
In Psalm 104, we hear an image of the heavens stretching over us like a tent. It’s an image that imaginations the whole earth within the same tent. It is a reminder of our closeness, and interconnectedness to each other – and also of the fragility of our situation.
When we are thinking about commitment, we are thinking about a call to this connection and fragility. We are reminded that this is not an easy call. In the terms of the gospel (Mark 10:35-45) , we are called to be servants – which means a necessary recognition that we are not, and cannot be, in control.
So, some questions to think about:
What do we need to do in order to live in a tent?
What becomes possible when we give up control in order to commit to something that is bigger than ourselves?
What fears (of storms) hold us back, and what dreams (or vistas) call us forward?