A PAIR OF TURTLEDOVES
with Rev. Rachel
24 A PAIR OF TURTLEDOVES Luke 2
The challenge to modern Christians, therefore, is to find effective rituals for celebrating the presence of God in the ordinary. We need to learn to greet the morning with gratitude; to celebrate food, family, and friendship at meals…Rituals are not restrictive; they celebrate the goodness and mystery of life.
Those are some of Alan Culpepper’s thoughts on the matter; the matter, being how we practice the presence of God in our lives.
Practicing the presence of God in our lives: It has been that phrasing, that wording, that has had a hold on me.
About six months have passed; July was it? I realized that we, Boulevard, could talk about any number of things vis-à-vis the state of our collective soul. Folks had. Those conversations were good and right.
But here we were; here I was, the pastor, and it hit me. This was my responsibility. This community was for some, a place to practice the presence of God. But it was not yet that same means of grace, for others.
What came of it? That’s another Crossing Boulevard. I can share a present moment manifestation, though. It involves the twelve days of Christmas.
This is only the third day (Saturday). There are nine more. I’ve set out to do one thing each day whereby the presence of God is practiced. Among them:
• begin the day with something that wakes me up to God (as distinct from waking myself up to the day’s demands) • ask God for help not some of the time but every time I feel stuck • Gather some folks together for a meal, offering it to God before the invite. • When surprised by grace, saying, not necessarily out loud: “Nice work.” Addressing the Holy Spirit, of course.
Join me? It only takes (1) playing all the way ‘til Epiphany and (2) considering personal and social holiness. There is no such thing as one without the other, Wesley reminds us. It happens at the intersection of “alone” and “with others”; in Bethlehem as well as Jerusalem; in the country of the heart and alongside of Simeon and Anna.
Practice the presence. It’s what our truest love has sent to us for every day.