Introduction: Bellringer

Welcome to Point Be, a collection of brief weekly meditations as inspired by a new transformative journey I’ve begun with a beautiful community called Jubilee!, here in Asheville NC. I accepted ordination from that joyous gaggle last week, which was/is/will be a wildly transformative experience. Below is the text of a micro-homily I gave that morning, and it’s both a test of this new site and serves as my first entry. Welcome friends.


Last Week I was in SC with Candace, our minister with Columbia’s Jubilee Circle. Then, the most controversial piece of cloth in the US waved silently in the Solstice sun behind the state house. Now, I’m tearing up at a cartoon of a confederate flag descending, the rainbow flag ascending- while Charleston’swounded families show the world what radicalforgiveness looks like. What a week for Amazing Grace! Can I get an Oh Yeah?

The Story of today begins when I was a 3-ish year-old toe-headed daydreaming ragamuffin when my first transcendent, spiritual experience. I grew up in NewCastle Delaware, a colonial town with a church at its heart that began construction in 1598. At three, that church was a huge jungle gym that creaked and glistened. One Sunday, the important looking people in the balcony invited the boy in oversized Navy Blues to come and pull the rope, ringing the bells during a sunshiny Eucharist. Some of you know that I really put a lot-sometimes too much- effort into volunteering my time. Well…

I may not have been eating my spinach but the result of that pull lifted me way up into the air, and the robed folks around me tugged me back to Earth with muffled laughter. I had flown! I was Superman, but also much more, the sound of that bell vibrated something in me, shook loose a screw, and I yanked again when they thought it was all over, the bells clanged, I laughed, and savored again for those few seconds ecstatic flight, boundlessness, maybe a force that drew me to that God Thing I was supposed to begin noticing and minding.

Like birds, spaceships, shooting stars, for mere seconds, I shared a communion with the improbable, the nameless. Meanwhile,the city of New Castle heard bells ringing slightly out of order. Surely, some townsfolk noticed.The rung bell is an ancient call to attention. Something is happening, is changing, people, draw ye near. When those bells ring, it’s not about the bell ringer, it’s the bell. It’s the message, not the messenger.//If I had a bell, I’d ring it in the morning,I’d ring it in the evening, All over this land. //For every hung-up person int he whole wide universe …we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing. Or,apropos to marriage equality- or queer lil’ ol’ me, you can ring my bell! Jubilants, 39 years passed since I was first lifted into the lofty air of another church called Immanuel, a name pregnant with meaningfulness today. Emanuel: God is with us,through us, as us, and still mysterious unto us. What we do know is that we have each other, and in this place we call Jubilee, we ring bells calling us to attention and intention, regardless of our personal understanding of God. Holding hands after the bell sounds- feeling the warmth, the pulse of life, the very exhalation of stars, momentary expressions of a Universe that stumbledupon a formula called you. As we move onward from this holy moment, I thank you for the honor you bestow, and ask you- to whom will you offer the bell to today? And when the bell rings, how will you answer?

Audio:

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