Saturday, September 01, 2007

I Need a Keystone

Life in California has either messed with me or freed me up, or, a little of both. I seldom wear a tie anymore except on Sundays. I have worn a robe twice in two years (and it's really OK). But the biggest change has been my (our) departure from the lectionary for one we composed together as a church. It all began back in Minneapolis during a confirmation parents' night when we told biblical jokes, and many of the parents sat there stone-faced. They did not get the jokes, because they did not know their Bibles well enough to know when a joke was being played on a "familiar" story. I resolved to preach a more overt lectionary: OT survey of the major themes and stories. But then I moved to California and went back to lectionary. When members here heard of my preaching plans for Minnesota, they asked me to preach it here. Biblical illiteracy is not a mid-west phenomenon.
From January 2006-May 2007 I preached the big themes from the OT: creation, sin, covenant, sacrifice, exodus, etc. It was well received. So from Sept 2006-May 2007 we preached through the life of Jesus; from birth to ascension. That too went very well, getting the pieces of the story hooked together. But now, we are heading into the story of the church, completing a trinitarian model Father, Son Holy Spirit.
Martha (my artist-wife) and Jeanne Heckman (her friend and collaborator with altar-pieces) brainstormed with me about a dominant image for the year. The idea emerged of a key-stone, cap-stone (some translations call it a corner-stone). They searched several communities around Santa Barbara, with no luck. Then the stumbled (no pun intended) into a stone yard, and the owner was captivated by the story and said he would cut a key-stone for us, something called travertine limestone (from with the Getty Museum in LA was made). He refused payment and dropped it off Friday, still wet from the saw.
It's magnificent, the way it stands there ready to carry a load bearing in on it from either side. That's the kind of Jesus who holds the church together, a Jesus who can bear the stress of the whole building. That's the kind of Jesus, the kind of church I need, to carry the load with me, upon whom I can lean with the painful questions and tough relationships. I hope we can be worthy of such a keystone.


At 6:35 PM , Blogger Dan said...

I love it! OK, it's been a while since i've dropped by and spet a few minutes reading through the past 6 or 8 weeks of your posts!

I have a request! Is there any way for you to send me the "lectionary" that you followed as you describe it here. I have been thinking about just such a porject and when I came across this... well, i thought i'd ask. Maybe a preaching calendar that gives you texts and themes? Just thought I'd ask,

Blessings, Dan


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