Celestial Lands The Religious Crossroads of Politics, Power, and Theology

Service of the Living Tradition Day: GA 2010 Day 2

Ok, I will admit I think of each day of General Assembly in relation to the major events of that day… and yesterday was, to my mind, Service of the Living Tradition Day. It was not only Service of the Living Tradition Day, but my Preliminary Fellowship Service of the Living Tradition Day.

One of the things that amazes me about GA is how things get discussed in real-time… how what might have been a month long discussion through email and the minister’s chat list-serve becomes an intense and interpersonal conversation. I think that having such conversations at GA that gives us the ability to have those conversations later through electronic media. On the first day, it was people who wanted to talk with me about the change in commanders for the Afghanistan War. In the morning at GA, that conversation (in my experience) focused at first on the opening ceremony chalice lighting, and then quickly moved on to the CSAI on Peacemaking.

I have made a commitment this GA not to plan on attending a whole bunch of workshops. Usually, I set up a strategic plan, and I have run from workshop to workshop. This year, I have some meetings and appointments that are outside the GA Schedule (lunch with colleagues, a conversation with the new CLF Minister, baby-shower for a mentor, etc.) I will be at most of the plenary sessions. But overall my plan is to just be, and when I have a time when there is no where else to be, I wander into a workshop or two.

So, much of my GA (besides plenarys) I’m wandering the hallways talking to friends and colleagues. Joyous!

I did attend the UU Christian Fellowship Communion Service, and I felt sad… Sad that one of the few places I get to attend communion that is open and welcoming is at GA.  In some of my myriad of minsiterial roles I offer communion to others, but GA (and perhaps the UUCF Revival) are some of the few places where I simply get to accept communion in the open and affirming way of Unitarian and Universalist Christianity. Rev. Alma Crawford preached a high energy and wonderful sermon, but I was there for this moment of connection represented in bread and wine. 

Attending a UUCF service also reminds me that, as a Christian Deist, there are places of theological contention for me even with some UU Christian colleagues, in particular to one reference to the resurrected Jesus… but such diversity of theological thought is part of the beauty of coming together into our liberal faith communities.  I don’t accept the truth of a resurrected Jesus, and yet here I can still take communion.

Last night was one of those events that I “had” to be at… the Service of the Living Tradition is a whole different experience when you are sitting on the stage. Reading the lines to the hymns backward from the backside of the screen is a skill I have not yet acquired. I enjoyed the sermon… but it did highlight an old adage a minister once told me… “You know you’re a preacher when it’s really hard to listen to someone else’s sermon without thinking how you would have preached it”. So, as always when I’m in worship, I had two sermons happening… and it is an amazing moment when I am truly pulled out of my internal sermon and engaged in someone else’s.

Rev. Paige Getty had me as soon as she said “The Velveteen Rabbit”. Using, in my opinion, the second best Children’s story for adults to read, was genius. It was a metaphor for ministerial formation I had encountered before, and a reminder of what the many years of moving into ministry have been like.

It was also the last time I will ever wear my robe in public without a stole, thereby imitating a circuit court judge… that’s enough to celebrate all on its own.

I also want to celebrate all the members of the Unitarian Church of Evanston, who all sat together next to the line of recession so that they could cheer loudly when I recessed by… you all are in my heart. And thank you for not cheering during the actual ceremony!

I did not get to stay for Peter Mayer’s concert… It would have been wonderful, and I love Peter Mayer… I would love to hear about how it was from those of you who were there.

All in all, day 2 of GA began for me with Peacemaking, continued with meeting, greeting, and re-connecting, and finished with processing and recessing. Day three… or as I know it Bridging Day… begins again. We begin again in love.

Yours in Faith,

Rev. David

One Thought on “Service of the Living Tradition Day: GA 2010 Day 2

  1. Tammy Besser on Tuesday June 29, 2010 at 13:25 +0000 said:

    Wonderful, loving, thoughtful blogs from GA. But I have to ask, what do you consider the best children’s story for adults?

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