rainy tuesday

yesterday was beautiful. today is rainy, but it’s that sort of nice summer rain, so it doesn’t feel as gloomy as winter storms. i was doing a little bit of premarital counseling with two delightful folks when the summer storm started. as we’re talking about marriage vows and covenant and what all of it means, i hear this gurgle. they hear it too. it’s like a stomach gurgling after too much fiber–only louder. at first we’re quiet, no one says anything and we continue on. the gurgle becomes a rumble. and it repeats itself again and again. the toilet in my bathroom loves to make noise when it rains. the extra water comes in and something having to do with roots and systems gets this little toilet so happy that it explodes water out of the bowl and all over the office, all while making joyful gurgle sounds. finally, i get up to check, and despite the lid being closed, the water is still spewing out, joyfully, all about the bathroom. we couldn’t stop laughing. it’s very hard to have a meaningful discussion when toilets are exploding in the room next door. they were very good sports.

in my lectionary group, we talked a bit about this week’s gospel reading from matthew. the phrase that jumped out the most to us was this: go and learn what this means. jesus gives us license to learn. learn what he means–learn what his teachings mean. how do we learn? we try and we fail. we try again and we (maybe) do a little better.

jesus heals the sick little girl, raising her from the dead. the man who asks him to do this is a leader of the synagogue. he asks jesus to lay his hands on her. this is against all laws. touching a dead body is the ultimate in unclean things to touch and any synagogue leader worth his salt knows that you don’t touch dead bodies. but he has been changed. by his humanness, by his love of this child, by his hope in this man named jesus, he has been changed. he now realizes that the rules which always have applied, the rules which were so important, are now meaningless in the context of this which is bigger, is beyond rules.

that’s the thing about relationships and being in them–they change us. they change our understanding not only of who we are, but how we operate in the world. jesus is the ultimate in changing relationships–turning the world upside down–reinventing the laws. don’t get me wrong–the laws matter. they were put in place to help us live together. think of the 10 commandments: don’t kill, don’t steal–these are basic tenants to help us live, to help us function in community with each other. but what jesus sees is beyond the law, into the relational piece, beyond the “what has always been” into the “what can be.” it’s the challenge and the joy of being in relationship (especially relationship with jesus). things are always changing. things are always new. oh that we would all go and learn what this means.


The boiler is being tweeked. We bought a new boiler, but tried to recycle the pump and that didn’t work, so it’s cold in here. To boot, the radiator just exploded (not really) and now there’s water all over the parish hall floor. I remember back when I first entered the discernment process for the preisthood and my rector said: “great! You want to be a priest. First, go to Athens Tech and learn how to be a plumber.” I get it now. Contrary to what so many think, I don’t sit around praying all day in my office–I call contractors, I empty trash, I make dinner for the Inquirer’s Class and I brew coffee (okay, you knew I did that already). Thank God there was no camera the other day when organist and I were standing in the bathroom with plunger in hand, both of us debating whether it was worthy of a call to E-Z plumbing (turns out it was). If it sounds like I’m complaining, I’m really not. I am, in all honesty, somewhat overwhelmed by the size,breadth and requirements of this building, but somehow it all comes together (in large part due to the junior warden, organist and sacristan). Perhaps, more than anything, I am aware of the commitment others have made to this place, to have it run, to help it be what it is. I know that I am far from alone. Community in the midst of toilet plungers. Who’dve thought it? Not me, but I’m glad its there.