If you look at a Chicago flag you’ll see a white background, with two blue horizontal lines, and four red stars. Each star represents something significant in Chicago history. The first star represents Fort Dearborn, the second the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, the third the World’s Columbian Exposition, and the fourth the Century of Progress Exposition. Over the years there has been conversation about adding a fifth star, and what is deemed significant enough to add a star has been of great debate. Some wanted a star for the first nuclear reaction below University of Chicago, or for the first Chicago public school, the first Chicago railroad, sending Al Capone to prison, or for reversing the direction of the Chicago River’s flow. While no official fifth star has been added, the conversation about what makes something significant is an intriguing question. Similarly the scripture writers had to determine what was significant enough to be included…View Sermon
Tears are often the things we wish to wipe away as quickly as possible and pass off as irrational. Just this week a psychological assistant in Los Angeles named Diana Rivera wrote about her experience in an elementary school. She noticed that a boy began crying when a conflict started between him and another child. The teacher, in front of the whole class, told the boy to stop crying. As all his classmates turned to look at him, the teacher firmly stated, “You’re not a baby any more.” The little boy struggled to hold in his tears because there was no safe space to accept those tears, nor was there any attempt to understand what caused them and why they were important. Dina reflected on this instance and remembered the many other times she’s heard such a phrase. She said it seems as though after a certain age we should know how to regulate tears and the underlying reasons for which one cries, or it appears that we’ve determined that tears are only something that is acceptable from babies. “Those are damaging expectations in the face of how tears function for emotional and mental well-being throughout our lifetime,” she says.
Just this last Sunday here at church I witnessed a variety of tears…
Halloween is Saturday, and this weekend Wicker Park and much of Chicago are full of festivals with pumpkins, corn mazes, and games. Just yesterday our church participated in Wicker Park’s version called Boo-palooza. With these Halloween celebrations comes the annual process of choosing, making, and wearing a costume.
These costumes we create and design often communicate to others the essential aspects of what we are trying to represent or become. The action of creating a costume often requires us to determine what is fundamental. We have to determine if a bandana, boots, a plaid shirt, and jeans are enough to represent a cowboy. We need to figure out if dressing in white and placing a giant “S” on our stomach will get people to think “saltshaker.” All in all, the choices we make about our costume determine how we view the item or individual that we attempt to embody.
It so happens that Reformation Day and Halloween are the same day. While Martin Luther wasn’t dressed up as a cowboy or saltshaker when he posted his 95 theses, Luther’s life long dwelling in the scriptures helps us better understand the essence of God…