Monday, January 28, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 01/27/19: Stirring Worship at St. Luke's, Charly's Comfort (and My Peace of Mind), Family Dinner at Radio

1. I soared over the 4th of July Pass this morning and arrived at St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Coeur d'Alene about ten minutes or so before this morning's Eucharist began and that was plenty of time to get myself centered, quieted down after driving, and ready to worship.

Today was the Third Sunday After Epiphany and the Scripture readings for today were as stirring a set of passages as I've ever experienced: Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10; Psalm 19; 1 Corinthians 12:12-31; and Luke 4:14-21.

For me, the most compelling passages of Scripture and the most inspiring teachings of other world religions, like Buddhism and Daoism, are those that further the truth of interdependence, of interdependence between humans and the natural world and of the interdependence that binds us as people to one another. These passages never hold up the rich, powerful, and respectful as superior to the poor, the needy, or the less honorable. These passages, and 1 Corinthians 12:12-31 is one of the best, do not stress our independence or our individuality, but rather our need for one another. In the passage from 1 Corinthians, Paul discusses this interdependence by using the metaphor of the body of Christ and describes relationships between its members that finds unity in our differences and, in fact, describes sameness as absurd. We cannot all be ears. We do not all have the same gifts. We are not all alike in social standing. Some suffer more than others. Paul argues that these differences are indispensable.

If, as I see it, in the realm of truth, everything that rises converges, the teachings of the world's religions, the idea of the social contract, and insights of philosophers, poets, storytellers, and other sources of wisdom rise and converge on this one: we need each other and, contrary to what Paul calls elsewhere "the world" and its thinking, we who have plenty, who are honorable, and who are familiar, need the poor, the inferior, the dishonorable, and the stranger. That's fundamental.

2. Speaking of interdependence, such a relationship exists between me and the corgis, Charly and Maggie. Our mutual sense of ease is largely dependent on how we are doing. Right now, as these dogs move toward their mid-teens (Maggie is nearly fifteen; Charly is closing in on thirteen), my sense of ease is dependent, in part, on how comfortable they are. After church, I returned to Fred Meyer and purchased two more runners and now the hardwood floor in the house where Charly most often walks are about 90% covered with rugs and she is moving more comfortably from room to room because her hind legs are not sliding so much.

I admit, I did not buy this new collection of rugs with interior design in mind. Maybe when family come over, someone with a better eye for this sort of thing than I have can tell me whether certain of these rugs might look better in different places. But, even if my aesthetics were way off, my purpose in laying down these rugs is right on the mark. Charly is moving from place to place in the house with more ease, possibly with less embarrassment, and this gives me and her peace of mind.

3. Christy, Everett, Carol, Paul, and I try to have family dinner three times a month and rotate the hosting responsibilities between ourselves. Sometimes, when we don't fix dinner for each other, we still get together and go out to eat. We haven't done this for several months, but tonight we decided to have dinner at the Broken Wheel.

I hadn't walked much today, so I walked to the Broken Wheel and while I was walking on Riverside in front of what I still think of as Sunnyside School, I got a message from Christy saying the Broken Wheel was closed.

Instant negotiations broke out over cell phones and without fuss, we decided to eat at Radio Brewing. Christy and Everett waited for me to arrive at the darkened Broken Wheel, Christy drove us uptown, and we sat ourselves down at Radio for dinner.

Lively discussion about movies, television programs, the history of the band Queen, and other subjects broke out and continued right up until we left. I ordered a small dinner, two Korean tacos with a simple salad and ice water. I planned to walk home and don't like drinking alcohol if I'm going to walk any distance and, before walking home, I didn't want to have eaten a whole lot.

It turned out to be a pretty good evening for walking -- I racked up over 6000 steps; I walked over three miles; I walked for nearly an hour. Most important, I had a safe walk. I avoided icy places and didn't slip once, nor did I fall.

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