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"Invitation vs. Expectation: What Do We Really Mean?"
Date: Sep. 6, 2015, 10 a.m. Minister: Rev. David A. Miller. Music: Catalin Dima. Religious Exploration: No Summer RE classes. Nursery care for infants to age 3 offered in the Sanctuary Building. Child care offered for ages 2-12 in the Preschool Pod of the Program Building. Note: A worship service for all ages will be held at Shenandoah National Park Big Meadows campground as part of the All-Congregation Retreat.
"Swimming to the Other Side"
Date: Sep. 13, 2015, 9:15 & 11:15 a.m. Minister: Rev. David A. Miller. Music: Catalin Dima. Religious Exploration: No RE classes. Ingathering services for all ages. Streaming in the Chapel for families with young children. Nursery care for infants to age 5 offered in the Sanctuary Building.
“Play, take two”
by Rev. Laura Horton-Ludwig. After yesterday’s service and sermon on the spirituality of play, it was delightful to hear from so many of you about how you like to play and what brings you joy. Thank you for the inspiration! This morning I got to play with my dog, Taylor. I like to take her out and throw sticks for her – the way she runs full-on to get the stick and comes back with her laughing, happy dog face is just the best! And for me, it’s especially great because she is completely accepting of my not-that-great stick-throwing talents. I’ve never been much of an athlete. I’m in awe of people who can throw with accuracy and power. Not me. But I can toss a stick for my dog and it goes somewhere, even if not always exactly where I expected, and Taylor is good with whatever happens – she’s just happy to be out running and playing together. And it’s fun! We both come home with smiles on our faces. For many of us, life is dominated by the need to be competent, to do our jobs well, to be excellent. Competence and excellence are wonderful things. But the pressure to embody them at all times can be a heavy burden. I recall my college days at a competitive university. Everyone worked so hard and worried about how they were stacking up. That pressure created a subtle, unspoken message all around us: “If you’re not already good at something when you get here, it’s too late to learn: you’ll never catch up.” What a harmful message for young people to absorb! I’ve had to work pretty hard to unlearn it, and it’s still a work in progress. That’s why playing with my dog is such a gift for me. Every day, she’s happy to play with me and just receive whatever I can give with total acceptance and delight. How about you? Are there people in your life like that? Little kids, maybe? They are pretty awesome at that. As we get older, it’s harder for us to practice that kind of acceptance and delight in one another … and it’s one of the great gifts of religious community at its best. Don’t get me wrong: Competence is great. We need it in church too! But when we are embodying the community we really want to be, we practice accepting one another and we get to feel that wonderful acceptance in return. We do our best because we care, not because we’re scared of judgment. We can relax and give what we have, in a spirit of love, appreciation and delight. Thank goodness. And you? How will you play today? How will you practice acceptance and appreciation – of yourself, of others? Good luck and enjoy! P.S. In case you missed it, check out the videos we showed in the service: babies laughing at funny dogs (I dare you not to laugh!) and “The Fellowship of the Rings,” about young adults whose spiritual practice is swinging on gymnastic rings at Santa Monica’s Muscle Beach – beautiful!