“A penny for your thoughts,” we used to say. As I sat in the sanctuary during the R.E. service I had lots of thoughts whirling through my head.
First, and foremost, I was thinking: “This is exactly what I had hoped for when I came here 17 years ago. This is the vision on which I kept my eye through difficult times-through the controversies and the financial struggles. It’s here, now.”
If you offered a penny for my thoughts I would have said, “I’m feeling extremely appreciative of this staff–Jamie, Ed, Bob and Barbara, and Jan, Bobby and Sally.” I might have given in to a pinch of pride, though it’s one of the seven deadly sins.
What Brian Aldiss said about writers could certainly be said about clergy folk:
Writers (clergy) must fortify themselves with pride as best they can. The process is analogous to using sandbags and loose timbers to protect a house against flood. Writers (clergy) are vulnerable creatures like anyone else. For what do they have in reality? Not sandbags, not timbers. Just a flimsy reputation and a name.
At this stage of life I’m not worried so much about falling into the trap of pride as I am about missing those moments when a pinch of pride is just what the doctor ordered. I’ve lived from too many Sundays into Monday morning realities to get caught by some spider in the seductive web of pride. But you offered a penny for my thoughts, didn’t you?
Before I fly away to Cleveland for General Assembly, I want to invite you to a couple of Fall events. Mark your calendar for Sunday evening at 7 p.m., September 23, when James Carroll, author of the extremely important book, Constantine’s Sword, will lecture at Temple Israel.
I also want to mention that I’ll be doing a Coming of Age trip for adults on the weekend of October 27-28. We’ll get a coach bus and leave for Boston early on Saturday morning, have lunch on Boston Common and visit Channing’s Arlington Street Church, First and Second Unitarian Church (Emerson was minister of Second Church) King’s Chapel- the first church in America to declare itself Unitarian, and the UUA.
We’ll spend some time, as the kids do, at Quincy Market, visit the Holocaust Memorial there, and have dinner in Boston’s North End, the Italian district. Then we’ll head to the Espousal Retreat Center in Waltham for an evening colloquium, an overnight in a private room, breakfast and morning forum on Emerson and Thoreau, a visit to Follen Church in Lexington where I served as Assistant Minister, Author’s Ridge in Concord where we’ll read from Emerson and Thoreau at their grave sites, and finally a walk around Walden Pond to Thoreau’s cabin site. We’ll return on Sunday afternoon, inspired.
Call the church office to reserve one of the limited spaces. Now let’s ease into summer.