Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Trinity @ 7 Sermon for June 17, 2007

Take a plane to New York City. From Grand Central Station take the train to Buffalo. Get a taxi into the city, right into Niagara Square. Walk down Delaware Avenue, away from the river and pause at Chippewa to get some coffee and some atmosphere. As the scent of the coffee hits you, know that even just for now, just for this moment, there is beauty in the world, and you are sitting at the center of the mandala. When you’re done with your croissant and paper, continue to stroll down the Avenue, past the construction and the repurposed church, and down half a block there is a church, called Trinity. And on a Sunday night you can come in, hear the jazz, the spoken word, and perhaps at some point you’ll look up and see God. It could happen. God’s always there, after all, waiting like a puppy at the periphery, waiting for our attention, which typically we don’t offer until we let our guard down right before we fall asleep, or when we’re eating cheesecake or chocolate ice cream from a cone, when we see a newborn anything or our oldest and best friend, or when we come to this place… This place.

This place.

Have you ever noticed how physical things get a hard rap when they come up against abstract stuff like grace, and love, and grief and suffering – when we talk about the spiritual life. And maybe that’s Plato’s fault, because really, ever since Plato and Aristotle, who are some of the heavy hitters when it comes down to the forefathers of Modern Western Thought, ever since them, it’s been a really popular notion to think of the universe as spirit versus body in a contest where body can’t win, shouldn’t win, and is a dirty rotten scoundrel for even supposing it had a chance. Now, there are a lot of implications for this, because their teachings were naturally pretty deep, fairly complex, and were, at least for their time, really convincing arguments as to how the Universe worked. I mean, some of the strange and messed up ways we look at sex, gender, and hierarchy can be traced back, at least in part, to these guys.

But, you know, it’s like Mary Oliver says – when we let our soft bodies love what they love our lives instantly lose a layer of complexity and insanity.

There’s a question that many of us are still asking ourselves even now – not just ‘who am I?’ but ‘what do I love? And how can I do it?’ Because doing what we love is one of the many roads to being what we love, which at the end of all things, is love itself.

And so the physical and the spiritual meet, just when we least suspect it.

And so it really is, with life, I think.

Bodies – they’re the things we carrying around with us until the one day we leave without a forwarding address, but they’re not just dead weight. They’re the vehicle on the road to happiness – they’re our train car to Nirvana, Enlightenment, and the Kingdom of God. They’re the way we know, the way we can experience God.

And one great way to experience God – for there are so many, if you hadn’t noticed already, so very many – One great way to experience God is to do what you love.

What do you love?

No comments: