Monday, January 29, 2007

The Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time

We did something at church yesterday that was wonderfully ordinary and ordinarily wonderful. We had a Congregational Meeting to vote on our new budget. No, that's not the wonderful part.
Towards the end of the meeting the moderator asked for a volunteer to coordinate our annual summer Fair fundraiser…Her request was followed by a silence so deafening I swear I heard crickets chirping off in the distance….in the sanctuary…in January.

We were all thinking the same thing. Uh uh, not me. I'm too busy. I do so much already. This is a big job. I've never done anything like this before. It's too much responsibility. It's too much work. I'm only one person with limited time and limited talents. Let someone else take on this one.

The hushed stillness continued. And then the something wonderfully ordinary and ordinarily wonderful happened.

One person volunteered to organize the music, and another volunteered to help. Two people volunteered to organize the games, and someone else said "I can do the food." Someone else agreed to do the publicity and solicit advertising for the Fair guide, and still another stepped forward to man the committee. With the ball now in full swing, last year's coordinator offered to assist whoever was willing to fill the coordinator's spot and a split second later someone offered to take on that role as co-leader.
We went from dead silence to a fully staffed committee complete with co-leaders in under 5 minutes.

This kind of stuff goes on in houses of worship everyday all over the world, which is why it's wonderfully ordinary. Yet each time it happens we are amazed at how generous others can be, at how neatly our mish-mash of talents fit together as a whole, at how much one person can do when they have one person standing on their left and another standing on their right and ten more following in their wake.

This is how we keep the soup kitchen staffed, the homeless shelter funded, and the food pantry shelves stocked. This is how we ensure that the sick, the elderly, the grieving, and the lonely know how much they are loved and cared for. This is how we keep the sanctuary doors open, the Sunday School up and running, and the songs and prayers flowing.
This is how we achieve the ordinarily wonderful.

For those who call for the obliteration of organized religion, painting it as being at the root of our world's evils, I need only direct their attention to the little church, synagogue or mosque on the corner. The one that all those crazy and deluded people waste time and money keeping alive. There are amazing things going on inside those little houses of worship. Things that are wonderful and ordinary all the same.

…and now here it is, your moment of Zen:

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