Last Spring I ventured what would be the the most challenging class of my life, so far at least.
Dr. Veronice Miles' Homiletics & Worship course pulverized my rock-solid block of self-understanding. Smashed it.
Dr. Miles, grounded confidently in her extensive experience, behavioral psychology background, and sacred bond with Holy Mystery, critiqued and curtailed my first-year preaching persona in such a way that I--my actual self, my real self--was freed to preach of the Living God.
Through exegesis I lost an entire day of my life in the library (pictured), so enraptured had I become with touching the scripture in what felt like real time.
Dr. Miles demanded authentic engagement, the stuff that costs something, like hot coals to the lips. I was not able to get away with anything, even when I was doing my best to fool even myself.
I do not know if Dr. Miles knows the journey she set me on.
I was one of her many students--all of whom received the best of her intentionality and pedagogical prowess. She probably knew I was terrified, though. And completely mystified. I can't keep anything off my face.
Sometime in the early weeks of the semester--I want to say it was merely the second week of class--Dr. Miles gave us 24 hours to write a sermon that we would, absolutely, preach to our colleagues.
And said sermon would, absolutely, only be a minute long.
I drew Genesis 2 from the hat.
CREATION IN A MINUTE
In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. +
In the beginning,
In the day God created the stellar heavens and the soggy soil, the earthling and the very first garden, something happened in a minute.
With both feet seeping into that fertile ground, God rubbed elbows with creation--
and the created started creating too.
It has been that way ever since. In minutes creation unfolds in a dance between God, created beings, and chance.
We meet right there, in the minute.
Creating life and devastating life, tiling the soil and killing the soil, becoming who we are and forgetting who we are.
And with each minute worlds appear.
Creation is messy business, but God is in it, continuously speaking and molding and breathing life into the minute.
And, behold, we are invited--welcomed in all our various potential--to create with God.
To make good in this minute.
Thanks for being here, beloveds.
*All but two of the images used in this post came from Unsplash, an invaluable resource for free media. I highly recommend it to anyone in need of beautiful, high-res photos.
*Also, the very top photo is an actual picture of earth taken by NASA from space. Incredible, huh?