Sunday, May 30, 2004

Don't Blog Over Spilt Tea

As our kids grew up I attended innumerable events in which they were featured - band concerts, plays, half time shows, awards ceremonies, graduations, etc. For many years I took our video camera to every one of those events and spent the evening watching everything that transpired through the lens of the camera.

It took far too many years before I realized I rarely, if ever, went back and watched those video tapes. Once I had that revelation, I stopped bringing the video camera to events. I opted instead to cherish those happenings as they occurred. I held onto memories instead of Memorex.

My friend John and I had the discussion recently, and in fact it ended up on his blog, that one of the hazards of writing every day is that you can find yourself constantly on the lookout for blog fodder, stuff to write about.

Comparing blog fodder to those video moments is perhaps unfair. When it comes to blog material, the incident, event, or oddity has already been experienced. The decision is whether you write about it, or as is the case when you have several fellow bloggers experiencing it together, who is going to write about it first.

That's been a recurring theme between myself and Gordon, our Pastor and dear friend. Since until recently Gordon's blog identity was secret it became something of an unwritten rule that should we share an experience worthy of our blogs, one of us would have to choose. It's only happened a time or two where something notable, humorous, or bizarre occurred and one of us has turned to the other and said, "Are you going to blog about this or am I?"

Today something similar happened, with a slightly different twist.

Our church service today was meaningful, and moving. I don't want that to get lost in this story. Our community of believers held each other tight, and shared our struggles.

The beginning of our service in particular was very hard.

Our friend, Barbara, is dying. Gordon announced that Barbara is now hospitalized. The sudden and rapid decline of her health has been very difficult on our entire congregation. It's been especially rough for Amy who feels that, due to her own health problems, she has not had an opportunity to be there for Barbara.

Today we prayed for peace for Barbara and for God to somehow grant us the ability to accept His apparent will.

Amy wept.

I asked for prayers of strength and healing for Amy and our good friend Cynthia held Amy close.

I shut my eyes holding back tears.

Gordon prayed aloud and walked over to where Amy and I sat to lay his hands upon us.

Unfortunately my giant mug of sweet tea was in the aisle at my feet and when Gordon came to us, his foot hit the mug and a measure of tea reminiscent of the Exxon Valdez oil spill gurgled out onto the floor of the sanctuary.

It was no big deal, most of the church members didn't notice, and those who did didn't care.

Our small community of faith is quite used to messy church...personally I think that's how church is supposed to be.

To his credit, Gordon didn't miss a beat. He kept reaching toward Amy and prepared to deliver more deep and heartfelt words of prayer.

However, he did take one brief moment to give me a quick glance and jokingly whisper, "Don't blog about this."

It made me smile and despite her tears I saw a slight smirk from Amy.

Honestly, I'm not sure I could have asked for a more immediate answer to prayer.

Today is Pentecost Sunday.

Gordon's sermon message was clear: We don't have to have all the answers. In fact, maybe the answer is that we shouldn't expect to have the answers at all. Instead we should be open to the Holy Spirit, and trust in the mysterious ways and works of God.

I certainly don't have the answers, but today I believe God worked through a shared smile and spilt tea.

In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people
- Acts 2:17