We are under construction.   We know this, right?  It’s the reason we are in the Parish Hall right now.  We are under construction.  

But would if its more than just us under construction?   What do I mean? 

Beloved all of Christianity is under construction right now.  We are making some big renovations in our faith and practice.   Covid really changed so much in our world.  

Perhaps you’ve noticed it too.   Less people coming to church.  Younger generations opting out of religion entirely.  Most millennial generation and younger think that religion is part of the problem rather than the solution.   We are under construction.   

When you’re under construction, things are not where they normally go, life is a little bit chaotic and different.  We try different things.  I remember a friend who was having her kitchen remodeled telling me about eating take out for months and making food on a hot plate and microwave.   

You improvise when you are under construction she told me. You try new things and experiment when things are in upheaval.  

Would if we improvised?   Would if we tried new things?   Experimented?  

The Episcopal Church is in trouble.  We have been in decline for since the 70’s.  Have any of us really stopped to notice?    We are under construction and now is the time to improvise, to try new things to experiment.  

Why are we so scared of improvising in church?  Why are we so afraid of experimenting?  I think we are scared to try new things in the church for fear that they might not work.  So, we stick to old familiar patterns and we allow ourselves to crippled by our fear. 

Jesus wasn’t afraid to break customs.  He healed on the Sabbath.  He was not afraid to be seen as being outside the decorum of his time and day.  It wasn’t fitting and proper to heal on the Sabbath.   But he did it anyway.  

Sometimes I feel like we are that bent over woman in our gospel today—not able to look up and view what’s all around—we are bent over by the weight of our own customs.   Notice I didn’t say tradition.  I said customs.   There’s a difference.   Tradition is dynamic and spans one generation to the next.  It is does not have to be preserved perfectly in amber, like a museum piece.  Tradition needs to span the generations and speak a new hopeful word to all the people—not just those of us who have been here since Moses wore short pants. 

How do we free ourselves from our customs?  How do we try new things?  How do we speak a relevant word to this youngest generation?  

We are under construction beloved.  It is time to try new things and improvise. 

Starting this Fall, we will be improvising Eucharist for families with an experiment we are calling Pizza Eucharist.  

We will have an informal Eucharist, music, and dinner together.  We are inviting our families to make this last Wednesday of the month a priority—to covenant together to be community.  But its not just our families and younger generations that we wish to gather on Wednesday nights at 6pm.  We’d like to see you there too.  

One of the most astonishing and sad aspects of life post covid in the church is that it feels like our younger generations are deeply separated from our elders.  Church beloved is at its best when we intergenerational.  When we are together in the body collective—the body of Christ is at her best when she is all ages, all colors, all kinds of thinking, together in one room.  God loves diversity.  Why do you think there are so many flavors of religion and people and languages and species?  The only answer I can find is that God loves diversity.   God loves difference.  

We need that in our body beloved.  That is why we are trying this experiment this fall.  And here’s the great thing about improvising, about experimenting, about being under construction—we can try new things and we can fail.   We can fail.   Failure is not the final measure of our totality.   Improvising and experimenting is not about failure and success—it is about trying new things.   That’s what the church needs to be up to these days—trying new things.  We are under construction.  

I love our Hebrew Scripture reading today from Jeremiah.  God has an intimate knowledge of us from before our birth.  Before that first birth.  Jews to this day believe that life begins at breath and breathing.  YHWH is the sound of breathing coming in and going out.  God says do not say you are only a child—a boy.  For I have put words in your mouth.  We are invited beloved to listen to those that are the youngest among us and to hear their words, their faith, their experience as well as a ours.   

God is embarking on an experiment in Jeremiah today.  God is improvising.   God’s kingdom is under construction too.   Being rebuilt.  Listen to Jeremiah who says, “ "Now I have put my words in your mouth.
See, today I appoint you over nations and over kingdoms,
to pluck up and to pull down,
to destroy and to overthrow,
to build and to plant."

If we are to have a future beloved, we are called to improvise and experiment.  We can’t do the same old things hunched over and bent not seeing the entirety of the body.  Its time we were set free.  Its time we tried new things.  Its time for healing.  Its time to be under construction. 


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