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Thursday, September 28, 2017


The conference worship service was on the beach in the cool of early morning, looking out across white sand and the Gulf of Mexico underneath cloudless blue sky.  One theme of the conference was "All God has is ours."  It was a perfect setting in the sense that perfect is whole and not without blemish. There were a couple of blemishes including a distant beeping of a service vehicle in reverse. But even that seemed to blend into the wholeness.

When it was time to observe the sacrament of communion, we were invited to walk forward and take bread and wine to remind us of our bond in Christ. The Celebrant broke the loaf of bread and lifted it into the air saying, "All are welcome at this table." At that very moment as if choreographed, a dove (well at least a seagull) descended to accept the invitation and partake of holy food. That's when the Celebrant, instinctively and quickly pulled the bread away saying, "No! Not you!" There was laughter, some I suspect to hide the awkwardness of missed opportunity.

This reminded me that most of the time when we say "all" we really don't mean it. Do we really believe "all men [sic] are created equal?" Do all people have the same rights, opportunities, and resources to live with dignity? Are all people really welcome in our places of worship? Does our version of "God" really love all people? What does it mean to claim that the Divine Presence is in all, through all?

The seagull also reminds us of the missed opportunities we have every day to actually practice the "all" inclusiveness many of us espouse. How many times do we look through people around us, especially those working in positions of service, making our lives more convenient and privileged. When do we stop to take in the wonder and beauty of the planet that sustains the diversity of life surrounding us? Do we even notice the amazing creativity and imagination that surrounds us in the infrastructure and technology that makes our modern lifestyle possible?

How big is your "all?" To whom or what are you and I saying, "No! Not you!"  

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