On Tuesday, I gave the invocation at the Dallas County Commissioners Court. I do not know how or why I was selected. I do not know why I was bumped the first time I was signed up, nor why I stayed on the list to be asked. But, I was invited, and so on Tuesday morning, I drove down to Dealey Plaza. I met our commissioner, who seems genuinely nice and approachable. I chatted with the staff. And I got ready for the meeting to start.
I should make clear at this point—I am all about the First Amendment and the separation between church and state, as it protects both the church and the state from the other. I did my research—the Supreme Court has upheld invocations before official government business as long as there is no establishment nor endorsement of religion in said invocations. I remembered my friend Stephanie causing huge controversy by giving an invocation before the Stock Show in Fort Worth and not using the name of Jesus Christ. And I started sweating over whether or not the invocation said anything, and if it said too much. It started with “Divine Breath that Unites Humanity.”
And then, about thirty schoolchildren from an Islamic school showed up. Civics class field trip! And they were treated like every other school group, I assume. Lots of questions from various leaders, lots of praise for answers and questions from the kids. And so when I got to invoke, I invoked the Divine Breath that Unites Humanity (we call it the Holy Spirit usually, but others don’t have to) to guide the business of the session, to ignite a passion for all people, to make us better citizens and bind us together more fully as human beings. I think it went fine.
I bring all of this up because, well, first, it was surreal, and second, because as we move into Lent (Lent starts next week!), we’ll be looking at finding the divine in the ordinary through some miracle stories from the Gospels. There’s no explanation as to how God works, just statements that God does. Oftentimes, when Jesus performs a miracle, a lot of people do not notice, care to notice, or flatly, they refuse to. What does it mean to follow Christ in a world where we all see things differently? What does it mean to seek the miraculous in the every day?
That’s what I’m playing with this week. Zane will be finishing up our New Year’s Resolutions series, preaching on the transfiguration and the resolution “Lose Weight.” Yeah, it’s a stretch, but I know he’s cooking up something incredible. I look forward to hearing the Word from him on Sunday, and seeing you then.