DCC News

 

Weekly e-newsletter for members and friends of the Dublin Community Church

 

June 13, 2008

                                                           

The “Right” Thing

There is an old Chassid story told by Jack Kornfield & Christina Feldman.

The disciples of an old Rabbi were arguing about the true path to God. One said that the path was built on effort and energy. “You must give yourself totally and fully with all your effort to follow the way of the Law.” The second disciple disagreed. “It is not effort at all. It is pure surrender…let go of all things.”

As they could not agree on who was right they went to see the master. The first disciple gave his argument of putting forth an effort…and the master said, “You’re right.” The second disciple was quite upset and responded with his theory of pure surrender…and the master said, “You’re right.”

A third student who as sitting there said, “But master, they can’t both be right,” and the master smiled and said, “You’re right too!”

This wise story comes to me mind when I consider the recent Ohio Conference UCC Annual Gathering. I was there the past few days with Pastor Kay. To my mind, the Annual Gathering is such a mixture of all things that it is hard to describe and if one does so, they will be contradicted by someone else.

I enjoy these gatherings for no other reason than the fact that they take me out of the everyday. Sunday night’s opening worship service was a jazz liturgy. It’s not as outrageous as it sounds at first. The instruments with which we praised God were a saxophone (tenor sax too), organ, bass, percussion and the rich Gospel-inspired voice of the songstress. To intersperse jazz and traditional and contemporary songs and beats is a whole ‘nother way to enter into worship. The Psalms says that we should praise God with the trumpet, tambourine, harp and lyre, strings and cymbals, but it says nothing about using an organ, as most churches do. So, why not use tenor sax and drums? THAT was what the Annual Gathering was all about.

But the next afternoon we had a business meeting. It was pretty dry too. It dealt with resolutions on finance and discussions of dollars and the By-Laws. Nothing too thrilling, though the leadership of the meeting was inspired and agile as all questions brought forth were considered and given full public discussion. There is no way to enliven such meetings, yet they are important. Since I am on the Board of Directors for the Ohio Conference, which is constantly discussing the Constitution and finances (and spending very long hours on such things) I am pleased to see our groundwork offered to the entire Ohio UCC Conference. The exciting work of the church is built on common consensus and forward thinking plans which arise from the business side of the meetings. THAT is what the Annual Gathering was all about.

 

For the evening worship we experienced the stirring preaching of a UCC minister from a large UCC church in Georgia. It was preaching at its most creative, biblical and finest. Few of us can preach like this preacher…and no one could hear him without being moved and shaken, and uplifted. The richness of the words of the Bible were given to us in a large worship setting there in the auditorium. But, rather than frustrate me, because I know I could never approach this preacher’s talent and inspiration; I was uplifted, realizing that the Word of God is indeed, exciting and baffling. I like to be baffled by God because I am so often baffled by everything else in life. This preacher “spoke” to me. THAT is what the Annual Gathering was all about.

There was more too. There was the fellowship of other ministers and colleagues and UCC friends from across the state and the years. There was the wise counsel and determination of our Conference Minster and Association Ministers. There was a clergy workshop over several sessions, which was one of the best I have attended.

If you came Sunday night you experienced the jazz worship…the inspired preaching…you would say THAT was the focus of the meeting. If you came only on Tuesday afternoon, you would have experienced the business portion…you would say THAT was the focus of the meeting. If you stayed for it all…you would experience the richness of shared worship, fellowship and planning…you would say THAT was the focus of the meeting.

And you would be right.

Peace, Rev. Bob Tussing