The Church and “Ministering to the whole Universe” (or at lest pitching a tent in a corner of it)

The Feast of all Saints is the Anglobaptist’s  anniversary of his ordination.  This All Saints He reflected on that day and the sermon preached at his ordination.  I was there and heard Trevor Bechtel preach. At the time we were still in the last stages of starting Church of Jesus Christ, Reconciler, a month after his ordination we began our first public services in a room of a café, Chase Cafe, in Rogers Park.

In seven years I have moved from having services in a café to a gallery.  I first perused the above post as I was preparing to lead a Vespers and Eucharist at Gallery B1E, for the soft opening of  the Day of the Dead Exhibit.  At that service were three people, an artist and member of a Lutheran congregation and two estranged( I guess would be one way to say it) Catholics(also artists). None of the current members of  Reconciler made it that night though a couple came out the next night.  Some how I saw my standing in a gallery turned chapel praying the psalms linked to that moment of Tripp’s ordination and Trevor’s sermon.  Trevor used the metaphor of the ruins of the church and here I was in a gallery celebrating the feast of the church, here we were sifting the embers, taking from the ruins, finding the grain of the universe.

Even now I can’t describe the experience of All Saints and All Souls services in the gallery turned chapel.  But there I was in ritual and word proclaiming that the hope of the dead is the crucified risen and ascended Jesus Christ of Nazareth, God in human flesh.  And I was asked to do so by a person who says he’s not really religious, among a group of artists who have among their number some who are  often very critical of religion (and they have good reasons for it).

We prayed psalms that talked about the righteous being generous in lending and managing their affairs with justice. Praying such things among a group that is in varying degrees involved in Occupy Chicago was more raw as the sin and the pain and the longing behind the anger and frustration of the movement echoed in the words of the psalms.

God is gathering, calling, and waiting, even in a world where much obscures God’s act of reconciliation in Jesus Christ, even by those who name the name of this God.  The ember is there, and people long to work with the grain of the universe.  So much gets in the way including Christians.  So, there was an ordination, and a congregation started, and then one goes off to a Ph.D in liturgy and one lifts bread and wine in a gallery full of longing.