Today I went over to church to meet with a family regarding a funeral. I traveled side streets there and back, fighting the urge every once in awhile to stop the car to reach out and grab a bunch of lilacs.
It's that time of year.
Yesterday was Confirmation Sunday. Somehow, more than Easter, more than graduation, this marks the beginning of spring for me. Maybe it's the lilacs. Maybe it's the fresh young faces in their white robes. Part of me wishes we would switch Confirmation to fall, so it would be associated less with graduation; part of me loves Confirmation in the spring, with all the new life and hope, all at the same time.
I took a risk yesterday, preaching about half of my sermon from the floor, with just a few notes in my hand. I compared the gifts of the Holy Spirit with a "winter survival kit", with the tools we need as we are sent out on Christ's mission, sharing the wideness of God's love, expanding our own world at the same time. I got to speak directly to them, and I felt that they were listening, too.
I was incredibly tired after church, which was the day after younger Stepson's graduation in the Big Windy City to the north. That too was a blessed day, to be able to celebrate the accomplishments of a Young man of Value.
This morning we went to breakfast at the Birchwood Cafe, in the Seward neighborhood of Minneapolis. We haven't been there for awhile, but a beautiful spring morning, complete with lilacs, seemed like the right time to head down there. For me, it was also a trip down memory lane. Until I was in the 5th grade, my paternal grandparents lived in the Seward neighborhood, just two blocks down from where this cafe is now. We walked down to the house where they used to live, and I remembered standing at the bus stop across the street, while my grandma and I waited for the bus to take us downtown. I also remembered how all of us grandkids would walk one more block down to a convenience store where we would buy Milk Duds, Starbursts and other kinds of candy. I know the neighborhood has changed in the 30 years or so since I had spent time there, and I caught myself wondering who lives there now.
While at breakfast, my husband and I started planning our summer, just a little. While we will probably be taking Scout up to the North Shore sometime this summer, we both agreed that we wanted to carve out a little time to go see the Jeffers Petroglyphs over in Comfrey. I had won 4 vouchers to Minnesota historical sites at our church's annual Mardi Gras Breakfast, and we've been trying to figure out ever since how to use them.
After I got back from the church this afternoon, there was a big box waiting for me. It had finally arrived! All of the small items from the Revgals Big Event this April, the one I couldn't go to. There was also a coffee mug (signed by everyone) and a T-shirt.
Spring is pouring in the window. I'm thinking about a faith that's wide enough to include all of our lives and all of our activities, both ordinary and heroic, the tragic and the joyful. I'm thinking about a God whose arms are open to comfort the grieving, who gives strength for doing the dishes and cheering the home team and speaking up for children who are left behind. I'm thinking about a God who is big enough to be in small moments, a creative, redeeming, sustaining God.
What about you?