In my first few weeks, I’ve heard wonderful stories about PBUMC’s historical involvement in Pride and the Pride Parade! This year Pride is very different due to COVID-19, but the spirit of Pride prevails. In worship, we will share photos from the past as well as hear from some of our congregation via video clips as they reflect on Pride, what it means to them and how they are celebrating despite COVID limitations.
This congregation has been a leader on so many different levels in LGBTQIA+ inclusion. That is worth naming and celebrating again and again, even knowing that the work for justice and inclusion continues. Our California-Pacific Annual Conference named an LGBTQIA+ Advocacy Coordinator in 2019, Rev. Denyse Barnes. Rev. Denyse, along with others, including our very own Erich Grimm-Schmitt, created a Pride Service that you can view in the video below. I know you join me in celebrating Erich’s participation in this conference wide effort!
Our scripture passage for this Sunday is one that may be familiar to many. We’ll take a look at the Parable of the Sower. Using this parable along with a section of May Sarton’s poem, “Now I Become Myself,” I’ll continue sharing some of my story and inviting you to reflect on yours. I’ve included the full poem below in case you want to read it in its entirety. Take care of your bodies, hearts and spirits and I look forward to being with you in worship on Sunday!
Now I Become Myself
Now I become myself. It’s taken
Time, many years and places;
I have been dissolved and shaken,
Worn other people’s faces,
Run madly, as if Time were there,
Terribly old, crying a warning,
“Hurry, you will be dead before—“
(What? Before you reach the morning?
Or the end of the poem is clear?
Or love safe in the walled city?)
Now to stand still, to be here,
Feel my own weight and density!
The black shadow on the paper
Is my hand; the shadow of a word
As thought shapes the shaper
Falls heavy on the page, is heard.
All fuses now, falls into place
From wish to action, word to silence,
My work, my love, my time, my face
Gathered into one intense
Gesture of growing like a plant.
As slowly as the ripening fruit
Fertile, detached, and always spent,
Falls but does not exhaust the root,
So all the poem is, can give,
Grows in me to become the song;
Made so and rooted so by love.
Now there is time and Time is young.
O, in this single hour I live
All of myself and do not move.
I, the pursued, who madly ran,
Stand still, stand still, and stop the sun!
Matthew 13:1-9,18-23 (CEB)
That day Jesus went out of the house and sat down beside the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he climbed into a boat and sat down. The whole crowd was standing on the shore.
He said many things to them in parables: “A farmer went out to scatter seed. As he was scattering seed, some fell on the path, and birds came and ate it. Other seed fell on rocky ground where the soil was shallow. They sprouted immediately because the soil wasn’t deep. But when the sun came up, it scorched the plants, and they dried up because they had no roots. Other seed fell among thorny plants. The thorny plants grew and choked them. Other seed fell on good soil and bore fruit, in one case a yield of one hundred to one, in another case a yield of sixty to one, and in another case a yield of thirty to one. Everyone who has ears should pay attention.”
“Consider then the parable of the farmer. Whenever people hear the word about the kingdom and don’t understand it, the evil one comes and carries off what was planted in their hearts. This is the seed that was sown on the path. As for the seed that was spread on rocky ground, this refers to people who hear the word and immediately receive it joyfully. Because they have no roots, they last for only a little while. When they experience distress or abuse because of the word, they immediately fall away. As for the seed that was spread among thorny plants, this refers to those who hear the word, but the worries of this life and the false appeal of wealth choke the word, and it bears no fruit. As for what was planted on good soil, this refers to those who hear and understand, and bear fruit and produce—in one case a yield of one hundred to one, in another case a yield of sixty to one, and in another case a yield of thirty to one.”
Consider these questions:
- When you reflect on the “soil” of your life, how would you describe it?
- What images/hopes/needs arise when you ponder the idea of being rooted in love?
- Who or what has supported you or is supporting you in “becoming yourself?”