Thomas's Blog

Life Before Fall

Posted By Thomas Murphy on September 01, 2014

Here we go again. The first hint of fall is in the air. Football

is starting up. Children are back to school. Buses are on the road just ready to stop and drop off children (when you are already late). Every time everything starts back up again, and the liturgical cycle repeats, I always question: what is going to be new about the stories we gather around? How are we being called more deeply into God’s love? Do we not sometimes feel the same about the liturgical calendar as we feel about those movies in eternal rotation on TNT? Yes, we already know Zuzu Bailey “every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings.” What will be different this year? I feel I write and preach a lot about the problems of the world. Looking over my sermons, I have compared the nightly news to ‘a landfill’, ‘a landslide’, a ‘horrific pile of images languishing at our feet’—and a few others not worth ever writing about again. I can’t seem to help to feel the gap between the ways of the world and the ways of what I perceive as the will of God. The gap between these realities seems to form an abyss, deeper and blacker each year. This reminded me of a Nietzsche quote I have been trying to work into a sermon for years. “Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster… for when you gaze long into the abyss. The abyss gazes also into you.” I first encountered this quote on a magnet on the fridge of a friend. It has stuck with me for years because it seemed like a good reminder of how to avoid being consumed by darkness. I find myself this year asking myself, where do I see light? What occurred to me is that the light I most clearly see is in the community around me. It was in the faces dressed in blue shirts coming forward for Eucharist before Food Booth. It is in the conversations of faithful vestry members discussing the intricacies of an aging roof. It is each time I receive a communication from one of the many members of All Souls out in the world visiting the sick. It just may be that we are in fact God’s solution to the darkness. So, here we go again: walking together through ordinary time, into Advent, into Epiphany, into Lent, into Eater, and back through Pentecost. And it all will feel very much the same except that each year in fact we are the ones that are changing. Maybe that’s what our spiritual journey really means? Doing the same things to un-shroud our souls and light the abysses of creation. Hold on everyone, it will be the same this year but so much different. But only if we’re transformed.