Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Between Trapezes in Petaluma

One of the privileges of being a UUA Trustee is that I am invited to be part of the service at some of our congregations. Last Sunday was with the Unitarian Universalists of Petaluma, with the "world premier" of my sermon on change and transition, borrowing liberally from William Bridges' work, including a description of the place in between beginnings and endings: "like being between trapezes, like Linus when his blanket is in the dryer".

UUP is a lovely congregation - they meet in the Petaluma Woman's Club, a beautiful historic building with a nice feel - and have been working with the Rev. Ben Koch-Myers to see what they can do to evolve to a part time minister. I was impressed with the people I met, who were articulate about what they were trying to do, and who provided a service experience with warmth and sincerity.

Another benefit of sermon preparation is that you are forced to think through many of the things you are talking about. I included a story about a method of catching monkeys in Thailand that involves drilling a small hole in a coconut shell just big enough for the monkey to get his paw in, filling the shell with rice, and fastening it to something that cannot be moved. The monkey puts in his pay, grabs a fistful of rice, but cannot get its paw out without letting go of the rice. As the story goes, the monkey will be caught rather than let go of the rice.

I could tell from the look on many of the faces Sunday that this story hit home - as it does for me. How often are we "caught" because we cannot let go of something when change is happening?

1 comment:

Matthew said...

The monkey story is interesting. In the novel "Where the Red Fern Grows", they use a similar technique to catch a raccoon to train their dogs. They put a piece of glass in a hole with nails in it and the raccoon won't let go.