Summer is over and we begin another full program year together this week. I hope everyone had a good summer, with vacations or time to spend with family and friends, perhaps a pace a little slower than during the rest of the year. In this busy world, it is good, and when possible a privilege to be able to step away and slow down a little.
My summer was good. I read a lot, took a few short trips, celebrated a wonderful wedding in Pennsylvania for a young woman I dedicated almost thirty years ago, and hobbled around dealing with a stubborn case of plantar fasciitis. I read all of the Harry Bosch detective books; they take place in Los Angeles and are written by Michael Connelly – not great redeeming value there, but fun. I did read some excellent novels: Transatlantic by Colum McCann, Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki, The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes, Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver, many of the stories in Dear Life, Alice Munro’s last collection of short stories (her stopping writing is a great loss to literature). I re-read Billy Budd by Melville in preparation of a sermon on that later this year, and began Anna Karenina by Tolstoy. And, I am reading “On Food and Cooking; The Science and Lore of the Kitchen” by Harold McGee – it is a fun read.
I followed the news, watched coverage of the 50th Anniversary of the great March on Washington – I’ll talk about that on Sept 15th. Two deaths struck me. The first was of Marion McPartland, host of a jazz program on NPR for many years. I listened to it often and she, a jazz pianist from England, interviewed mostly jazz pianists and created a love of jazz. It was a wonderful program. The second death was of the Irish poet Seamus Heaney. His poem “St. Kevin and the Blackbird” is my very favorite poem – a service based on that will come this year.
We are given a short life, in the grand scheme of things, to give and receive love, to find and share joy, to care for the corners of the universe that have been vouchsafed to each and every one of us. At times we stuff in a lot to our lives; at times we let things empty a bit. That is, I think, as it should be.
I love my life and am aware of all of the blessings I have – you among them.
See you in church.
Rev. Jim Nelson