The Friday Triennium features Matthew 14: Here’s My Heart. The story was specifically about verses 22-34. After the death of John the Baptist, and the feeding of the 5000, Jesus sent the disciples off on a boat while he dismissed the crowd.
This is the section where Jesus walks on the water, freaking out his chums until they recognize him. Peter walks on water too until he doubts. “Oh ye of little faith” has been considered a put down of Peter – hey, none of the others even tried! – but in fact, the message of the day is that, to quote Pete Townshend, a little is enough.
You do not need to believe in the miraculous nature of the story. The bottom line is that stepping out into stormy waters is a difficult thing to do. We try anyway.
One of the tasks of the Albany group plus our two Connecticut friends was for each of us to write a note, ostensibly positive, to each and every other person in our group. I was touched by the comments I got from our tribe.
The most fascinating phenomenon I witnessed during the week was the exchanging of pins/buttons. Almost everyone was trying to get buttons from other locales. Some had garnered a couple hundred. Think about how fascinated five-year-olds are with stickers and multiply it twentyfold.
Our folks got about 20 pins each, the I Love NY variety that our coordinator got from the state tourism department for free. We probably should have brought far more. O the other hand, they became a desired commodity.
The intergenerational group played a trust game; no leaning backward was necessary. One had to guess how many different types of pies, Presidents, books of the Old Testament and elements the next team cold name. The second-oldest guy in the room got the OT question and nailed it; he was, we later learned, a minister.
There were tables of various entities of the church, where one could pick up their literature. One was called U Kirk, which “provides professional support, empowerment and community for those engaged in campus ministry on behalf of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)” It turns out that the woman at the table knew our pastors and even shared the first name of one of them.
Another involved becoming a Matthew 25 church. “Matthew 25:31–46 calls all of us to actively engage in the world around us, so our faith comes alive and we wake up to new possibilities. Convicted by this passage, both the 222nd and 223rd General Assemblies (2016 and 2018) exhorted the PC(USA) to act boldly and compassionately to serve people who are hungry, oppressed, imprisoned or poor.” As it turned out, only three days earlier, the Session of my congregation at home had already agreed to join the effort.
Lots of the Purdue students were riding rented bicycles and scooters this week, and a few of the Presbyterians tried the scooters as well. If I had brought my helmet, I might have rented a bike myself.
Another great sermon, I believe involving a LEGO movie. It’s been a good time, but I’m ready to go home.