The Reverend Sandy Webb is blogging from General Convention in Salt Lake City.
Some days define moments in history. Other days are defined by their moments. Thursday was one of the latter.
I went through many drafts of this reflection, wondering what it was that I should share. The General Convention has not been in session long enough to have major legislative news, and our first worship service came off largely as planned. Every day at the General Convention is extraordinary. Is it possible to say that Thursday was an ordinary extraordinary day?
On ordinary days, however, God’s grace has a way of perforating the normal, blessing us with occasions for joy. Ours is a God who lives in humble dwellings, and we should not be surprised when we find him there. A few examples:
Exactly two years ago Thursday, I was in New York City with the Reverend Charlie Dupree. The Presiding Bishop had asked us to meet with her and establish a vision for worship at this General Convention. Thursday, one of our nine fledgling birds took flight. We rang cathedral bells to mark the beginning of sacred time, and the ethereal tones of a flute danced across the room. A moment of sanctuary emerged in our makeshift cathedral. Grace!
There is a lightheartedness to these early days of Convention that I do not remember from previous years. This grace-filled spirit was captured best by the little smiles that emerged when this prayer was prayed in worship: “We pray for our families and for our children, for their awe and delight in your creation as they giggle and grow in your world.” (Our Prayers of the People are being tweeted in from around the world. Check us out at prayersofthepeople.org!)
Thursday’s spirit was best summarized for me in a chance encounter. A few pieces of liturgical hardware did not make it on the truck from New York. Frustrated, I walked to my hotel to receive them from FedEx. On the way, I passed a woman holding a basket of flowers and wearing a Rastafarian shirt. (She may have been standing on that corner since 1972.) She reached out to me, a Black-Eyed Susan in her hand, and said: “I like spreading good cheer. I hope that you have a wonderful day.” I did, largely because of her.
Was this woman God incarnate? Probably not. Was she a giver of God’s grace? Absolutely. As we head into the longer and harder days of Convention, our spiritual discipline must be seeing and celebrating those little moments of grace that remind us of God’s presence, those little perforations of the ordinary that testify to God’s love for us, for his Church, and for the world.