On Sunday nights, like most ministers, I suppose, I feel bone-weary exhaustion. Yet I am also filled with gratitude. A wonderful choir inspired me this morning. Many young adults were in our worship service to explore the meaning of community. A few old grievances were put aside. Each week I preach to a church that makes me think and feel more deeply than ever before. I love preaching at First Congregational Church of Los Angeles. After church the weather was amazing, and we shared friendship with one another, not superficial friendship, but something real and wonderful and uplifting while enjoying the California sun. I feel inspired to see young adults taking the lead in ending gun violence in schools. This summer I will celebrate my 10th anniversary at First Congregational Church of Los Angeles, but tonight, a Sunday night, I am filled with gratitude for every church member, every staff member, and for the miracle of feeling like I am where I need to be and doing what I need to do, and that I am in a church where I really, truly, gratefully belong. A church in Los Angeles faces daunting challenges. Nothing supports church participation in LA culture. But somehow, each Sunday, something special happens, something remarkable happens, and it fills me with gratitude. I can be as cynical as the next person. I don’t like to admit it but it’s true. But some Sundays God breaks through, melting something that has grown unresponsive inside my soul and making me more open and receptive to the vibrato of the universe. I am Taking a Breath tonight. Maybe you will Take a Breath tonight or on Monday morning. Faith is not so much about what you believe; it is about how open you are to the life God is giving us at any given moment. I end every sermon each week with these words — “I love you all. Let’s love one another.” I think I will end this Sunday night with the same words.
PS – If you have not been in church recently — I’m talking to a few of you Los Angeles folks — let me see you this Sunday. We need one another!