It is 7am. The space I am sitting in is a bourbon bar by night, but in the morning it is the most delightful little bagel shop. My coffee is a medium roast from Oblique Coffee Roasters (a small Portland boutique roastery) and my english muffin is still warm with homemade strawberry jam. I am four blocks from my house. The staff greet me like a friend.
It has been a full, even intense, week for me. There are many things that I could tell you about, but there is one thought that I cannot get out of my head, all week long.
A week ago, I went to the baptism of Baby James, the son of our dear friends. It took place in a downtown wood accented sanctuary.
The baptism was lovely. I slipped out before the end of the service. My friend Amy Piatt’s church was a block away and I was hoping to catch the end of her sermon. Trying to enter the ornate church unnoticed, I softened the outer door as it closed and then slid into one of the back pews. Amy’s sanctuary is really something to see, all whites and blues, the ceiling as high as the room is wide, a broad chandelier, with pews on three sides insuring that everyone is close enough to easily toss their prayers to the altar.
I missed the sermon… but I was in time for the eucharistic liturgy. I love the eucharist… I will need to write more about that soon.
In many ways the setting was telling of my spiritual journey. Amy’s church would have been condemned as “liberal” by my conservative upbringing and the fairly full congregation was made up of, well, let’s just say that there were not many George W. votes in the room.
Amy recited the liturgy. She tore the bread. Then she did something that caught me (a fairly rooted liturgist) off guard. She looked around the room with a lingering pause, then asked, “Who is welcome at Jesus’ table?”
Without hesitation, this “dubious” congregation said in heartfelt unison, “Everybody.”
“Yes, yes, everybody,” Amy echoed. “Everybody is welcome at Jesus’ table. Jesus is calling everybody to be with him.”
It struck me so strongly, that even now, a week later, as I write the story out, my eyes moisten. The very essence of God’s love, the centrality of the gospel, the invitation of Jesus is so beautiful.
“Who is welcome at Jesus’ table?”
. . .
Still working everyday in preparation for the release of ALOOF on January 13th. I am looking for bookings after the New Year.
Have a lovely week.