by Lee Hull Moses
There wasn’t any coffee in our house this morning, a tragedy on any day, but elevated to near catastrophe in the week following the spring time change when the mornings are so very dark, and on this morning in particular, when the temperature outside was barely 25 degrees when I left the house.
Which is to say that I’m grateful for the neighborhood coffee shop that was bustling with people, and the steaming hot coffee now filling my cup. (Would I like a pumpkin chocolate chip muffin with that coffee? Why yes, yes, I would.)
We dodged the late winter snowstorm that hit much of the rest of the country this week, but still, this cold snap after so many warm days is wrecking havoc on crops and flowering trees, not to mention sinuses. The daffodils in our side yard don’t know what to do. I fear for our poor ravaged planet, and the toll we have taken on God’s good creation, even as the sunshine streams in my window and brings the promise of warmth and light.
There’s a sticky note on my desk, right in front of my keyboard, on which these words are scribbled: welcome, service, love, family, compassion, grace. These are the words we named as values for our congregation when our leaders met back in January. I’m keeping them in front of me this year as a reminder of what we stand for around here. These values describe not just who we are now, but who we hope to become.
I read something yesterday about immigrant families in the United States who are seeking out lawyers to help them fill out power of attorney forms, so that if new immigration laws mean they get separated from their children, they’ll have paperwork in place for the children to be cared for by friends or other family.
I think about my own children’s friends, whose parents are immigrants, and how they must be feeling. I can’t even imagine.
I think of my grandfather, an immigrant himself, and how he taught me to love photography and how to twirl spaghetti on a fork.
I think of the Native American museum I visited last weekend, and how very few of us can claim to have been here first.
I think of the Swahili choir who will be singing with us in worship this Sunday, and how we all enter God’s presence with songs of praise.
I think about how messy and beautiful the world is, with all our colors and our languages, all our songs and our stories.
I think of those words that we claim to live by: welcome, service, love, family, compassion, grace.
The gospel reading for Sunday is from John 4, in which Jesus meets a Samaritan woman at a well. We could talk about that well, and how the well in the Hebrew scriptures is always a sign of an important new relationship. We could talk about the living water that Jesus offers her. We could talk about how Jesus knows all about her, and we could talk about how centuries of interpreters have, in a classic case of blaming the victim, turned her into a promiscuous adulterer when it’s just as likely that her life has simply been full of undeserved tragedy.
We could talk about all that, but mostly, I think about how the boundaries of gender, religion, and race were never barriers for Jesus, and perhaps they shouldn’t be for us.
I think of this season of Lent, and how we are invited to come into God’s presence, with all that we have and all that we are, bringing our true selves, with all our questions and all our inadequacies. I think of the messy, beautiful world we live in.
I think of those words that describe who we are, and who we want to become: welcome, service, love, family, compassion, grace.
The coffee and the muffin are long gone now, and my thoughts turn elsewhere; there’s a bulletin to proof, a visit to make, emails to read. The sun shines, and I trust that spring will come.