In a few weeks, I will complete a project I’ve been working on in bursts for a few years—I will have read and annotated the complete, unabridged works of William Shakespeare. I do it as a disconnect, so to speak—when I need it, I take a few hours, unplug from the world, and go dissect a play. I started doing it so I could say, “I’ve read the complete works of Shakespeare” whilst swirling my brandy in a dinner jacket at an exclusive club that has to exist for folks who have done it, but now it’s become a convenient means of Sabbath. It is almost a spiritual discipline for me. I have survived the worst of the worst (King John and Timon of Athens, I’m looking at you), discovered great plays I would have not read otherwise (Cymbeline, Pericles, Coriolanus), and revisited the famous ones (I did not expect to like MacBeth that much this time around). It has been something I’ve chipped away at, bit by bit, and now there’s binders of information and shelves of books and in a few months I’ll be able to say, “It is finished.”
And the question then becomes “Now what?” I’ve gotten a few suggestions from some folks—Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace, the complete works of Dickens (emphatically: no), the great works of modern science fiction—and I eventually have to decide what the next project will be, and if there is one. I mean, it was Shakespeare, for Pete’s sake!
I bring this up not to brag, necessarily, but because I can’t help but see the parallels as the 2010 Capital Campaign wraps up and we launch the 2013 follow-up. Because of consistent and intentional giving, this church has undergone major physical renovations and sought to continue its solid commitment to inclusivity, justice and diversity. Because of consistent and intentional giving, this congregation has not yet said “It is finished,” towards its mission in this world and the Reign to come. Because of consistent and intentional giving, we have taken steps to eliminate our debt, strengthen our community, and become as radically hospitable as we know we can be. And so we continue this in 2013 with “Claiming God’s Call.” We’re not done yet—and I want to thank all of you who are already considering your pledges for this upcoming campaign.
We’re going to keep looking at Leviticus and the Year of the Lord’s Favor this Sunday. We’ll also be hearing a parable that might be a little familiar. I hope to see you then.