The great benefit of self-observation, or as the Buddhists call it, “mindfulness” is that we humans can be so silly. Watching ourselves can be like watching an animal at the zoo. Playful, then slothful, then silly, then seemingly sad, the angry, then melancholic, then playful again.
Many say that humans are a higher order than mere animals and that such a perspective on our animal nature denigrates humans, but I am not so sure. Indeed humans have the capacity to think and paint and make cakes. But humans also have the ability to slowly destroy their own planet. So I am not sure we know what we think we know.
When I observe myself, I see a man sometimes joyful, sometimes peaceful, sometimes agitated with all sorts of anxieties and sometimes even fearful of things that go bump in the night – that disappear with the flip of an electric light. And I am pretty sure I am not alone. I can get into shame storms, fear storms, and anesthetized seasons of peace all in a day or a week. And, again, perhaps I am not so much recklessly self-exposing, as simply honest.
This year, our campaign theme will focus on telling our story. And I truly believe, in my heart of hearts, that when I have told my story , I have healed. And that when others have, they have healed too. I wish that church allowed us to, even encouraged us to, tell and listen to human stories. I think we might heal. I think we might learn. I think we might find out that our stories are similar and so, not so shameful to tell and to hear. I think we might become real community instead of isolated people posturing in rows.
Jesus stands at the door and knocks with the door handle on our side, on the inside. Sometimes I wonder if we all started facing each other, rather than an altar, and began to share our stories with each other, if, perhaps, we might find the lock disappears, the door disappears, the walls disappear and we end up standing in a green field laughing and crying and wondering together, enveloped in God in a new way.
What if our cathedral doors were not steel-studded and 4 inches thick? What if we were not buzzed in to churches? What of we replaced pews with chairs that could make little circles? I know. Preposterous!!!!
(PS! Please come to the Antiphonal Organ celebration (3:45) after choral evensong (3:00) on Sunday! Dozens of kind people are cooking up a storm! Pat will preach on Beauty.)