This past Sunday, I missed Leah Chrest’s wonderful sermon. I couldn’t listen to it in real-time, but I listened to it at dawn on Monday morning, when everyone was asleep, and I could enjoy the peace and quietness of listening and reflecting on a sermon. My practice has always been to be present for a first sermon, just so if I have to offer a clean-up, I would do so during the announcement. But alas, I wasn’t there for Leah’s sermon, and even if I were, there wouldn’t have been any need for a clean-up. It would rather have been a moment to emphasize the beauty of her sermon and the importance of what she said.
Towards the end of her sermon, Leah shared a story of reading the sermon to her son, Brooks. His response was interesting: "Think about a computer, unplug it from the wall - the power source - and it is a useless piece of junk." It is only when the computer is connected to the wall - has electricity, the power source - that it can be useful. It is the source that powers the computer or, in our case, empowers us. The computer cannot function without being connected to the wall, to electricity. It is the power that brings the computer to life. I thought to myself, how cool!
As I reflected on this beautiful analogy, I am moved to ask you, what is your power source? What empowers you? What generates life in you? What excites you about life? To what are you hooked? Which wall are you connected to? From which wall do you draw your energy?
One of the sad experiences of all our lives is that some of us go through life without being connected to any power source that grounds us, anchors us, and provides us with more than enough reason to live, to believe in ourselves, and believe in each other.
I once had a conversation with a gentleman, whose son is an atheist. He expressed his frustration over the fact that the son no longer believes in God. In his view, the son wasn’t connected to any power source. In my response, I said to him, "Simply ask him, "If you don’t believe in God, what do you believe in?""
This thought reminds me of what Alex Watts, an English writer and philosopher, wrote: If the universe is meaningless, so is the statement that it is so. He goes on to write: To “know” reality you cannot stand outside it and define it; you must enter into it, be it, and feel it. I would add that to be a part of a spiritual community, or in fact any community, one must enter into it, be it, and feel it - to be connected to that community. Without this experience, you cannot judge its validity.
And so, for those who believe in God, those who believe in a power source and its importance in our lives, this is not a mere fantasy, nor is it a hallucinative approach to life. Far from that. It is real, it is sacred, and it is like a thirst that no water can quench but God alone. Listen to the psalmist: As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. Like the deer, we all need water to survive, for without it, we will all perish. But as humans, we need more than water. We need the living water that sustains us through feast and famine, abundance and scarcity, joy and sadness, success and failures, death and life, and the ups and downs of life.
And for me, these are the moments in our lives when life takes more than a simple belief in something, but rather a deep belief in a power source. How can I ever deny myself or anyone of this gracious benefit?
All too soon, summer is over, and fall is upon us. Children are back to school and are experiencing what it means to be in a new grade, meeting new teachers, making new friends, and trying their hands on new curricula. It is such an exciting time in the life of children, families, and the Christ Church community.
It is with that same sense of excitement and joy do we welcome all of you back to Christ Church - your connection to the source of power. On the roadside of our campus, you will see colorful banners welcoming everyone back to church. It is our hope that you had a wonderful summer break and are ready to live into the mystery of our belief in God - the power source.
I’d like to share with you my deepest admiration and thanks for our Christ Church staff - Denise, Mike, Kiona - who has been a wonderful addition, Larissa, Aisha, Yetti, Chris, and Jefferson. I am proud of the work that they do each day and week. I am also thankful for the numerous volunteers who work with our staff behind the scenes to ensure that the cable to the power source is well-maintained and effectively run.
This month marks my sixth year of being called to serve you as Rector. It has been a wonderful experience, and I cannot thank you enough for the graciousness and support that I continue to receive. I am reminded of the beautiful words of Rumi: Wherever you stand, be the soul of that place. I hope that together, we can each be the soul of the place where we stand, especially here at Christ Church.
Whilst at it, may our hearts continue to pant for the living God who is our power source. My heart can’t stop panting for the God who is the source of all our being and who is my power source.