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Opening Worship

The last words of Rev. Rebecca Immich Sullivan’s sermon from opening worship at the Young Clergy Women’s Annual Conference on Monday, July 29.

Opening Worship
7-29-19

There were arches

and a peak

made of wood

and polished,

carved with a

clover symbol

for the Holy

Trinity.

 

And feathers were laid

on the altar,

beyond the rail

where the minister presides,

which was draped

with green and white

for ordinary time.

 

And the organ pipes

spread their arms

in welcome

and pursed their lips,

poised to sing,

but yielded

to the lighter notes

of the piano’s

joyous song.

 

And infants nursed,

And toddlers gave

their voices to

the large spaces

between our prayers.

 

And the pews

creaked amicably

beneath us

adding their amens

to the gospel

according to Mary

and to “Martha, Martha,”

too,

 

and “our presence was

gift enough.”

Holy Housework

But in the midst of all that spiritual work, the everyday work of dusting, scrubbing and organizing real rooms doesn’t go away. This month, we bring you a sermon that reminds how this, too, is a spiritual pursuit.

I have a secret.

I have a very long term, very intense, shameful love/hate relationship with housework. I love the idea of housework. Years ago I bought the Cheryl Mendelson’s book Home Comforts. Mendelson is a lawyer, who grew up in a farm in Pennsylvania, and her passion is housekeeping. She loves to sort and clean and cook. Her book is so beautifully written that it seduces you into the idea that housekeeping is an art. She writes:

What really does work to increase the feeling of having a home and its comforts is housekeeping. Housekeeping creates cleanliness, order, regularity, beauty, the conditions for health and safety, and a good place to do and feel all the things you wish and need to do and feel in your home. Whether you live alone or with a spouse, parents and ten children, it is your housekeeping that makes your home alive, that turns it into a small society in its own right, a vital place with its own ways and rhythms, the place where you can be more yourself than you can be anywhere else.

(Sigh) Isn’t that lovely? I’ll read that paragraph and swear to myself that I will become a capital H Housekeeper. My house will be airy and light, dust free, with clutter put into its rightful place. The sink will sparkle. No crumb will mar my hygienic kitchen counters. My home will be a place of peace and beauty.

Yeah, right. Read more