This coming Sunday, May 22, will be my last Sunday at First Congregational Church of Los Angeles before beginning my summer sabbatical.
To those of you who are friends and members of First Church, it would be so good to see you on Sunday. (Our service begins at 11 AM.) You are part of my life. I am part of your life too. Let’s come together this week. It would mean so much to me.
Also, my friend Tom Strickler is furnishing an amazing reception after church. Delicious! Plus, where else can you hear a rendition of Van Morrison’s song — “The Alan Watts Blues?” It’s going to be a special Sunday.
I have so many thoughts as I approach the summer, but the primary one is gratitude, gratitude for the people who care for me, believe in what I’m trying to do at the church, and especially gratitude toward so many who work alongside me each week. I feel gratitude toward those who will make this sabbatical possible. I know it will be a burden to the staff, but I will try to repay it on down the line.
People have been asking me: “What are you looking forward to the most?” The answer is simple — I’m looking forward to time. Time to think. Time to read. Time to feel. Time to clear my head, to look back on my life and look ahead to my life. Most of all, I look forward to the freedom of waking up and deciding what I want to do on any given day.
I’m also looking forward to writing. Really writing what I want to write. I’ve found it all but impossible to work on a writing project outside my weekly church responsibilities. I hope I’ll get into the routine of writing every day this summer. If I’m lucky, I’ll get into a creative zone and actually make some progress on a book. If I don’t make any progress, I plan to lower my standards and not worry about it.
And so friends, I end every sermon by saying “I love you all, let’s love one another.” I think that’s how I’ll end this blog post today too. Take a Breath. I love you all. If you can be in church this week, I look forward to seeing you. I’ll be taking a break from social media this summer. My work email will be shut down. I know First Church is in good hands. Hold me in you heart this summer. I need it more than you know.