What is your take on transformation?
I just finished a very rough draft and condensed it to an outline for my sermon 2 weeks from now. This Team ministry is an extraordinary way to push each of us to pull our thoughts together early, to offer relevant material and ideas, and to suggest appropriate music and a story that will become the Big Idea for all ages.
The sermon series on Transformation begins April 20. My sermon, Life Story, is secheduled for the 28th at our Mid-Town location. Two weeks later, my content will be delivered live or via video at our two satellite locations. Fun stuff!
I hope to “get at” the dreams we have as (children and) adults to imagine ourselves and the world as different, ultimately accepting it (and ourselves) as beautiful, and discovering our own transformation. The basic steps I’ll address are these:
Liminality (the transitional period from the old to the new)
Spiritual Fulfillment / Acceptance and Gratitude
So now’s your chance to help me shape this sermon. Yes, I have a rough draft filled with my own reflections, stories, and message, but there will be more wrestling with all of it until that last moment before delivery. A gestational period, I suppose.
But now, it’s Friday evening at 6 p.m. I think I’ll have a glass of wine with my neighbors!
Today marks the 20th anniversary of my Ordination!
Way last century, back in 1993, I was ordained by the members of Northwoods Unitarian Universalist Church. After the laying on of hands I think I was floating for weeks. Both sons Rob and Fred Nugen participated in the service and surprised me with a simultaneous kiss on each cheek in front of the congregation.
The Rev. Dr. Leonora Montgomery preached the sermon–and now I’m back in Houston, where she is Minister Emerita of Bay Area Unitarian Universalist Church, retired (though still extremely active), and a member of the church I now serve, First Unitarian Universalist Church of Houston.
In that summer of 1993, freshly ordained and graduated from Perkins School of Theology at SMU in Dallas, I was in search of a congregation but without an income. Leonora graciously offered her garage apartment and many late night conversations in her kitchen. It was a bonus to have a swimming pool just 2-3 feet from my door. I continue to feel grateful for her kindness, generosity, and wisdom shared with so many colleagues and congregations.
I plan to celebrate today by working on my sermon. What a privilege it has been to delve into a topic, reflect on its spiritual aspects and why they matter, and craft a coherent message for people who have a variety of experiences and spiritual understandings. My sermon this week is actually on a universal theme: “A Good Birth, a Good Life, a Good Death.”
Life is sacred all the way from birth through death and into whatever beyond one might imagine. We fear aging and debilitating illness more than death. We can’t quite imagine death–what that means for us and how life as we know it will change after we’re gone. We’d be glad to live forever if we could stay healthy, vibrant, and wise. (Few of us wish to return to our youth and go through all the tough times again.)
Tomorrow my loving husband Jon Montgomery will take me to dinner for a different kind of celebration. Meanwhile I will dive back into this vocation that has taken me on an adventure of a lifetime.
This, from Loco in Yokohama
I have other reasons for not writing here for a while, but this could be the antidote!