Psalm 4:6-8 Many are asking, “Who can show us any good?” Le t the light of your face shine upon us, O LORD. You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound. I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.
I did not grow up in a spiritually rich atmosphere, in most ways. But the atmosphere of the U.S. of my youth, as it still has in many ways, had a lot of spiritual direction floating around. Christianity was the background for a lot of popular culture, even though it was quickly being privatized and beginning to be deconstructed. The old movies that TCM keeps recycling taught me a lot about how to relate to God, even when they weren’t trying that hard. For instance, when I woke up in the middle of the night last night, I had a choice. I could count the undone things that faced me or I could “count my blessings instead of sheep” like Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney (Aunt of George) taught me.
I am not always lulled back to sleep by my blessings, but counting them is a lot better than counting my anxieties. Last night I was recounting the many amazing people who bless my life with their radical faith, dogged hope and expansive love. Once I got started admiring them all, I realized that I was surrounded and blessed. I was feeling Psalm 4.
Let me just name the top ten people who have blessed me this week, only. I could enumerate the blessings of my great wealth and delightful family, highlighting the good time I had with Josiah and Brendan, yesterday, and how I saw Rachel/Zach/Corie and Randy/Garrett at Seussical. But there are even more extraordinary blessings that should not go unsung. I hope I instigate your own enumeration.
1. Art Bucher and Aaron Dahlstrom, a twofer. They multiplied a cell. As we sat at the Morning Glory Diner, I was kind of too-ebullient, maybe, and acting out a bit, because I was in the midst of the best Coordinating Group ever. It is still amazing to see people replicating more outposts of the kingdom in an organic, authentic way.
2. Joshua Grace pulled Ralph Moore off the shelf and told the Inner Metro Green guys to center their efforts on planting a well-founded, oddly-relevant church in Lancaster. I admire his capabilities. And I was blessed by the audacity of the church planters, too!
3. Jeremiah Alexander took the Psalters to Manor Church on Thursday night to rile up some worship and make some partners for our mission of compassionate service.
4. Rebekah Edwardson took over the Treasurer’s job and began to preside over a brand new team of treasurer’s: Country (oops Courtney) Jones, Danny Bresler-Nowak, Kathryn Seyfried. They are really putting it together with their new remote access technology (when it works) and commitment to fastidious sharing.
5. Annie Kopena and a group of delightful women ushered Alice Puchalsky into adulthood last night with their own rendition of a red tent (which everyone should read).
6. Christina Kallas not only raises money for AIDS awareness and treatment, she has great relationships at Philly Aids Thrift where she tells people about and shows them Jesus. Her co-workers bought her a lily for Easter out of respect born in their unbelieving hearts just by knowing her.
7. Justin Pascale and Katie Linton were so worn out from teaching Thursday they almost fell asleep at our cell meeting. I am blessed by the teachers who pour out their lives for children.
8. Joshua Schnapf is excited about what the Events Team might be able to do. He wants to combine the imagination he gets from working with the Barnes Foundation with his life in Christ. He walks into our space and imagines art flourishing. Lovely.
9. Audrey Robinson jumped into the cleaning rotation and gets to the building even when it is not her turn in the rotation, I understand. You can’t have too many friends like that.
10. Toni Gardner and Kelly Musser both jumped into Rachel Sensenig’s cell to help give the leadership for multiplication. Daring women are what we need.
The more people I named the more I could name. But I decided on ten in advance. Maybe you’d like to add a few to the list yourself. The world can keep you awake at night – it is such a mess. But if we turn our sights on the resurrection life Jesus keeps raising from the dying things all around, it makes it easier to rest.