The Lord is gracious and full of compassion,
slow to anger and steadfast in kindness.
The Lord is loving to everyone,
and his compassion is over all his works.
Julian had a vision -- of God holding the world in the palm of her hand
as Julian would hold a hazelnut. There we all are -- saints, sinners,
mothers, daughters, rich, poor, -- all alike held in God's love.
Everyone, everything, we know and be and are, held together by God's love
-- and our love for one another.
This small cosmos of ours -- is all we know. And yet string theory --
I've been reading Scientific American -- implies that there's more. This
universe may be 13.7 billion years old, since the Big Bang, but there may
have been someting before that -- and other universes beyond it. We may
be one of an ultimate multiplicity of universes. Suddenly the picture
But to get back to our hazelnut,
Remember those Blue Diamond farmers on TV standing up to their chests in
a roomful of nuts? Our hazelnut is suddenly one of many, an infinite
roomful, with more pouring in all the time. And yet God still holds us in
the palm of hishand. -- And holds each ofus as of infinite worth. For all
that, he sent his son to live for us -- to kneel by the roadside and
touch a blind man's eye, to laugh at a wedding, cray at a funeral, be one
And we become one with him -- in his love. Each of us is of infinite
bvalue to God -- and he reminded us, too, love one another.
We are all together -- no man is an island, entire of itself; each is a
piece of the continent, a part of the mainland. If a clod should wash
away, Europe (our little island) is the less, as much as if a peak or a
promontory were -- and we all in our cloddish -- or peakish -- way hold
this continent together. -- We all _matter_ to God -- and we each matter
to the other.
We may not always see it out in the world, but sometimes we do in
microcosm -- a little world. For instance, in a church, or on a baseball
team, or in a jazz band, or at a square dance. When I was in DC I was on
a city rec league softball team. No uniforms. We mostly just showed. One
of us was a player/manager. He'd call us all together -- booked us with
the league, and brought the bag of equipment (bat, balls). And then he
played, I don't know, third base. (I was in right field.) We could play
whether he was there or not -- he could have someone else come with the
bat & ball if he couldn't make it -- but there we all were together, each
with a glove at our positions, or up to bat. Maybe our church is a little
Or maybe we're like Dave LeFebvre's jazz band -- called together, we show
for the gig with our instruments. When we play we have a basic tune --
and each of us gets a turn to step up and shine. It's the job of a good
jazz musician to make the others look good _ when they're playing. In a
jazz band -- or a bluegrass band -- or here.
And lastly our church may be like a dance. One fall evening in high
school a bunch of us from Gaithersburg piled into my 1967 International
Travelall and drove out to Barnestown. There was a square dance. The
eight of us wandered in the room at the crossroads church.
The other dancers welcomed us in, observed that there were enough of us
to make up our square, and got us started. The caller came over when he
could -- someone alerted him -- but it was the other dancers, mostly, who
showed us the moves. And we danced. We all danced. The dance went on
whether the caller was with us that moment to show us, or not.
And the dance goes on. Each of us is part of us loving one another,
laughing with each other, supporting one another in trial or
circumstance. All held together on this continent of love. This crazy
little hazelnut in the palm of God's hand.
St John's Episcopal Church, Lakeport, California
May 9, 2004 9.30am Holy Eucharist
Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year C
Acts 13.44-52 or Leviticus 19.1-2,9-18, Revelation 19.1,4-9 or Acts 13.44-52, Psalm 145 or 145.1-9, John 13.31-35