Weekly Message from T. J.

Rendering the Sacred

I’m sure we’re all familiar with the phrase, “Something’s gotta give.” I am. I mean, I kind of enjoy the movie by that name. But also, as I type this message between a meeting with an attorney representing a refugee from Central America and a planning meeting with the Director of the LGBTQ+ Center at UH for a training he will offer all of us next month, I realize that what has to give this morning is the way I usually work on a weekly message.

Many of you are used to reading a few hundred words that come from this life we share and our understanding of faith in this world we share. But to give you some transparency in our ministry together, there is an order of priorities I have in serving you and serving our world. I fervently believe that taking time for reflection like I often do in these messages is valuable, but what are also valuable are things like 1) answering your calls, 2) saying “yes” to meetings dedicated to alleviating the suffering of siblings in our human family, and 3) planning valuable learning opportunities for the community inside and outside the walls of our church building.

And so I have found that there are times when I can’t get everything done that I’d like to get done–that something’s got to give. But when I can keep priorities in order during these times, I know that what is  getting done is important. And what I leave undone, while important and worthy, like taking time to reflect, edit, and post a weekly message, takes on a different meaning. Because another word for letting something go is to sacrifice something. And sacrifice is something we don’t talk a lot about, but we should.

The very word “sacrifice” means to render something sacred. Exploitive movies and tropes call up all kinds sacrificial rites around fires or before slabs of stone surrounded by hooded figures. But real sacrifice happens to us all the time. The meetings and the deadlines most of us make, we make by sacrificing other meetings and other deadlines. The time we take for our loved ones, is time we make by sacrificing time with others. And the list of daily sacrifices goes on for many of us. And at the end of the day, we say to ourselves, “something had to give.”

But here’s the thing. Every single sacrifice requires something that will be sacrificed. Every sacrifice requires something be given. And of course it’s a balance. I can’t set ten appointments in a day, make one of them, and turn in for the night delighting in the nine appointments I flaked on. But when due care is paid and things pop up in our lives that mean we miss something, we will know we are doing well when we actually miss  that thing. Because more than anything else, even though something had to give, it means we have something to offer, to lend to the world–something to give.

And may it always be so.

Rev. T. J.

2 Responses to “Weekly Message from T. J.

  1. Poet Mark Nepo said something very similar: “The original definition of sacrifice means giving up what no longer works in order to stay close to what is sacred.” I’ve seen time and time again how you try to stay close to what is sacred, T. J. — it’s no wonder that something had to give! 🙂

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