Last night Cooper and I were welcomed into magic.

Our music director for Living Waters is Victor Zupanc. He is an amazing musician with the kind of soul that invites people to join him in making beauty.

He is also the music director and composer at the Children’s Theatre here in Minneapolis.

He invited us to see his new show “Cinderella”.

We found our seats in the midst of kid-zapped energy. It was a Friday night after a long week and often such nights find us home seeking to remember who we are.

What we discovered is that we are children longing for magic.

We found it.

We were invited into a world where mice speak and longings are heard and dreams do come true.

Tears were near the surface throughout. We both missed the days of innocence we shared with our children. We both cheered as the whacky wickedness of the stepsisters and their mother was undone by kindness. We laughed and we wept and we left reminded that beauty and goodness cannot be undone by cruelty.

And, I was again reminded of the needful place of story. The telling and the sharing of story created in that theatre a people only too willing to be led.

Mice turn into coachmen. Cinders are replaced by wand work. Kindness trumps all.

Midnight looms. It comes.

It is not the end of the story.

all saints

dad paver

Every year the church pauses to name the saints who are no longer physically with us.

This year we will be shepherded into and out of worship by bagpipes. The blast of sound will serve as a musical rupture of the thin veil separating the living from the dead.

The service is so very alive. We name church members who have died in the previous year and project their faces onto our screen as we savor the ways they have blessed and changed us.

This year our church has been changed by 20 deaths. While the grief around their passing is so very real so too is the pleasure of saying their names and remembering their being.

The seminary that I attended offered an opportunity to memorialize beloveds through buying a paver for a newly finished chapel courtyard. Since my father was for a time adjunct faculty at UTS and since my heart longs for places and times where his name can be in the hearts of the now, it felt so good to create a reminder that once he was, even as he still is in the hearts of many.

And of course during this thin veil time, I wonder about my own death and the day when it will be my face on the screen, my name on the lips, my being bookended with birth and death dates.

Poet Mary Oliver asks : “What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

Tomorrow we name those who answered that question every day they were given.

And so it comes to us.

How is it we plan to enter fully the wild and precious gift that is life?

Mindfully or no, we live our answer.

ahh, vacation

I am readying myself to rest.

What this means is that many bulletins must be prepared and many phone calls made in order for things to be tended while I am gone.

It’s worth it!

In the midst of all the getting ready, the stack of books intended for vacation reading is growing by the back door.  They are legion.

Too, I have the great good of feeling into days of unstructured being.  In the midst of the stretch of days will be a weekend with my children and bike rides and tennis games and walks and swims and time with my guy away from phones and did I mention, books to read.

I love my work.  I get to be engaged with amazing people doing work that gentles the world to a better place.  It is creative and meaningful work, this ministry.

And, in order to be fruitful, fallow times are crucial.

So, come the final “amen” on Sunday I am off seeking Sabbath.

Holy work, that.

call and response

Having no sermon to write tomorrow, I spent Saturday morning on a city stroll.

The Uptown Art Fair is going on a mile or so from my home.  It was pure pleasure to hop on the pink scooter of happiness, zip down to the happening, park at a bike rack and wander the streets.

The most fascinating art on display was of the human variety.  Folks were dressed in their beat-the-heat best.  Hand in hand, in groups or alone, the beauty hunters were fine to behold.

Also fine to behold were the various artists in their booths of soul work.  I’m not sure how they have the courage to sit and watch people pick over their offerings.  The appreciation shown would be wondrous.  But how to summon the strength to watch people walk on by without stopping to soak in the gift of your offering?

I found myself thinking about artists of many stripes;  preachers and worship leaders, for example.   Every time we pray over, craft, and offer the art of worship and preaching, we are vulnerable to the reactions of the community.  It’s hard not to take it personally.

But there is in us each a longing for soul expression.  So we muster the courage to nurture it and share it.  We bring that expression to our parenting, our loving, our writing, our painting, our lives.

We cannot believe that sharing such expression will not be met with at least one soul who recognizes our song.

On a hot Saturday in Minneapolis, the air was ringing with the power of call and response.