And I started today. To make things new at the Chico Church of Religious Science Spiritual Enrichment Center. This was my first offiicial Sunday as the new Pastor. And if I may so myself....
It was awesome! A glorious day was had by all.
My day began early. In fact, it felt a bit like Christmas morning as I woke early and was certain when I looked at the clock it would be near time to awaken--it wasn't. But I got up listening to the sounds of Kristi Peterson singing, "As I Give...". After my morning prayers I headed out for my traditional early Sunday morning meditational walk. It was the first morning walk I have taken since arriving here in Chico three weeks ago (it's only been three weeks??)
While walking in my new neighborhood, I was trucking along in contemplation, something within called me to pause -- which I did. Then I realized I was called to paws, as I turned around and noticed a lovely grey cat crossing the street directly for me. I knelt down to see if he/she was wanting to make contact and indeed that was the case. A beautiful pewter gray, young cat with cappuccino markings coming through. I decided it was a female by her gait and build and she was quite the friendly and cozy kitty. I sat down on the cement so we could chat and I thanked her for making the effort to come over and greet me. In my mind, I wondered if my long-passed, furry soul mates, Nick or Wunjoy had sent this lil' angel to bless me. Probably they did.
Arriving at church, I could feel the energy start to build. It hadn't really occurred to me that other people would be excited, too. After all, it was their first day, too. I arrived to find several beautiful floral arrangements that some very dear folk had sent to honor my new ministry. Not to mention a gorgeous arrangement of cream-colored roses on the pulpit so that presciently matched the cream-colored flowers on my new dress.
We began with a guided meditation that staff minister, Rev. Eileen Brownell beautifully facilitated (and this was a new practice for the Chico community). We had quite the full house and we didn't begin till about 10:40. Our special music was The Dalai Mamas singing (in my honor) "Defying Gravity" from the Broadway musical, Wicked. It was a perfect choice and the voices were awesome. The Board of Trustees led by Kristen Wilson, talked about the process it took to get us all here and then introduced me to the congregration gifting me with an elegant vase of roses. The response was ... well, I won't say unbelievable because I believe in the rightness of my being here in Chico--but I am sure there is an adjective that would fit to describe the magnitude and power and JOY being expressed by the community as they stood to welcome me as their Pastor. AWWWWWESOME!
Somewhere in the middle of all this exuberance, fellowship and continued celebratory music by our fabulous Choir and Larry Sill, I think I gave a Sunday sermon talk but I will have to go online to hear what I said. I know that the preconceived ideas I had for the talk were pretty much moot, so I trusted the authenticity of the moment and spoke from my heart which was certainly made easy to do by these wonderful people at the Chico Church.
I met so many new folks today. Everyone was so warm and welcoming and it felt like one big Mutual Admiration Society sharing our love for Spirit and each other. Sweeeet.
Maybe the reason why Chico has such hot weather is because this town is fueled by some of the biggest hearts I have ever met and all that love just heats up the place till you melt.
When we got home, Don asked me if I felt more like I accomplished something or more like my work is just now beginning. A little bit of both, I thought. But then two bites of lunch later, I said that yes, it really feels like now I can begin my work because...
Behold, I (the I that I am) makes all things new. . .
. . . and I get to it again next week and the next week and the next . . .
Oh and speaking of new... there is a cool new feature for this blog site that I encourage you to use. You can sign on as one of my regular blog reader/followers and it gives me an idea of how many readers I have; and can be used for you to connect or see who else reads this. I was asked to give a name to my followers, so I came up with "Heavy Breathers " which seemed to fit. This feature may not be something the anonymous folks wish to use and I respect that. We can learn how to do this together. Maybe you can be a regular Heavy Breather without posting a name or photo. Let me know how you feel about this.
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