The Divine Mystery exists in each of us. We are Stewards of that Mystery.
This morning, I’m thinking of Rummage and Christ Church.
Frankly, it’s hard not to. We had a remarkable experience yesterday: near perfect weather, roughly four hundred different volunteers throughout the year to make this possible, countless ‘customers’ looking for our gently recycled goods, and unfailing good cheer and welcome at every turn. We grossed over $307,000, which, after expenses, will be thoughtfully returned to people in the greater Chicago area who have asked for our help. That is a record amount of money for us to raise for outreach. Our donors, volunteers, community helpers, and the people buying our goods are to be congratulated.
In addition to the gratitude I feel for such a successful and monumental effort, I also feel humbled. I think of the chain of people over time who have kept this effort viable and alive. I think this morning of the humble beginnings of this effort eighty-nine years ago. I think of the physics of beginnings and middles and ends, of all that takes place at each stage, of all the effort that goes into appreciating what is required of each season in our lives and of an effort such as this. Mostly, I think of something that has rung true for me: that everything in life has a gestation period, a period of time that is necessary for blossom to become flower. I want to share with you a beautiful poem which captures this sentiment, a poem which communicates as only poems and poets can.
It is a poem about love, but not just romantic love. Love is much bigger than just the first stage we call romance. Love, whether the love of God for us or our love for God and each other, requires maturing. It requires the experience of living, and all that living entails, to bear the fruit worthy of such a deep, unpredictable, harrowing, and lasting enterprise. Love is universal, but for us it must also be intensely local. It must be more than an idea. It must be made real in our world, in our flesh. It must be incarnated, as it was in Jesus, Our Lord. This poem does that. The poem is like love: it is local, universal, simple and complex, and reminds us that love is present even in the simple act of buying and consuming a peach. It speaks of those blessed moments when we know the joy of joys.
From blossoms comes
this brown paper bag of peaches
we bought from the boy
at the bend in the road where we turned toward signs painted Peaches.
From laden boughs, from hands,
from sweet fellowship in the bins,
comes nectar at the roadside, succulent
peaches we devour, dusty skin and all,
comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat.
O, to take what we love inside,
to carry within us an orchard, to eat
not only the skin, but the shade,
not only the sugar, but the days, to hold the fruit in our hands, adore it, then bite into the round jubilance of peach.
There are days we live
as if death were nowhere
in the background; from joy
to joy to joy, from wing to wing,
from blossom to blossom to
impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.
– Li-Young Lee
Questions for the day:
What am I doing while waiting for blossoms to become fruit? How do I express my love for God, for myself, and for others?