Among the hearty New Englanders with whom I serve and pastor, there are a few souls who refuse to close church on account of bad weather, ever. The Lord God created shovels and road salt and boots and wool socks as sure signs of the Almighty’s intention that we go to church. Some of these pastors hold deep theological convictions that the people of God should gather for worship every Sunday in rain, snow, sleet, or hail. Others are just defiant Yankee curmudgeons who would rather be assigned to eternal damnation than admit defeat by a winter storm.
Whatever the motivation, I love this stubborn streak within the church.
Participating in what God is doing, according to this early Christian theologian, will demand breaking alignment with the dominating social order, so one can truly imitate God. If we are to be imitators of God we are encouraged to be for others in solidarity with the poor and oppressed.
My daughter is a senior in high school. Now that she’s officially got herself into college (Vassar) and she, her father, her brother, and I know that she’ll be going away, we’ve begun the parade of lasts—her last home high school swim meet, her last YMCA state swim meet, her last “biggest/shortest” concert (a concert that involves all of the strings students in the Waterville school system), etc.
The rest of the school year leading up to graduation will be full of lasts, some more significant than others.
In this week’s Gospel reading, Jesus speaks of dark and light—one of our most primary realities and symbols. How can this be vivid language today, when we can turn the switch and flood almost any place with light any time?
As someone who plans worship, knowing what season it is helps. It helps us with the colors, the themes, the hymns, the scripture, the tone of worship. That being said, I must also admit that the liturgical season is an entirely human construct. We invented it to help us know God. God did not invent it to help God know us.