October 1, 2013

Proper Behavior

Filed under: Lectionary — by Lisa Meeder Turnbull @ 2:15 pm

It happens every year: At some point in Ordinary Time, I lose track of where we are.

Never mind that the family’s master planner is a liturgical appointment book…and that I have bookmarked a lectionary web site that automatically goes to the coming Sunday’s readings…and that I read not one, but two, lectionary-based resources every week.

Every year, at some point, I lose my place.

In my defense, some years really do have a very long green season. One of my colleagues once confessed, “It gets a little old. All the parables start to run together and we run out of sermon ideas: It’s a mustard seed. It’s small. But it’s enough. We get it.”

This year I am finding an unexpected grace, an intangible abundance, and the gift of being able to laugh at myself in something that I normally interpret as a failure.

Last Sunday I went to church because it was where I needed to be. I had spent the weekend on an emotional roller coast. I needed grounding. Plus there was a summer person I wanted to see before she headed south. I drove in wondering if those gorgeous words of Eucharistic Prayer C were negotiable…

Could I come to the table for both solace and strength? Could I get a little bigger share of renewal, maybe let the pardon slide this week?

Because I had lost my track, I had no clue what the readings were; my mind wasn’t cluttered with “how I would have preached it.” I was open to the gathered community. And somewhere across the span of gathering, sermon, table, and announcements I was indeed blessed with those offerings that, together, provided the very solace, strength, renewal, and pardon that for which I so deeply hungered.

There has also been an unexpected abundance of reflection in losing track of time. I have caught myself accidentally lingering on a passage, letting it stay in my head for another week. I’ve sat down to write and discovered that the harvest wasn’t ready. I’ve given myself permission to let some readings go. (They’ll come back around in three years anyway.) There is a certain joy in wandering through the readings without the pressure of preparing, arriving, being ready…

As for being able to laugh at myself…. I’m pretty sure my parish read the prior week’s readings last Sunday. (I double-checked when I got home, given my history.) It’s comforting to know that I’m not the only one.


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