Summer Reading List
One of the many things people look forward to in summer is having time to read.
A couple of weeks ago, I ordered this pile of books in anticipation of tending my mind and spirit more intentionally during June, July and August (even though I started reading some of them in May!).
So when, at the same time, I was trying to figure out what to preach on this summer, it occurred to me: what if we did a sermon series based on a book those who were interested in could read along with me?
It didn’t take long to think of the book.
An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith by Barbara Brown Taylor is, in many ways, the perfect book for a summer preaching series. In this book, Taylor encourages her readers to expand their understanding of where God is (hint: it’s not only in the sanctuary!) and what God is up to (hint: it doesn’t only happen in church!).
Taylor writes, “…my hope is that reading [these pages] will help you recognize some of the altars in this world—ordinary-looking places where human beings have met and may continue to meet up with the divine More that they sometimes call God.”
In each chapter she pairs a practice with a religious idea or concept. For example, the practice of paying attention is paired with reverence and the practice of living with purpose is paired with vocation. Each Sunday, worship and the sermon will be inspired by a chapter, practice and idea, as well as a scripture reading (or two) that goes along with it.
Summer can get so busy that it is easy to be disconnected from church and worship. My hope is that by offering a sermon series on An Altar in the World, whether you are here in body or not, your spirit may be fed and you can feel connected to what is happening in our congregation.
One of my favorite lines in the book is this: Earth is so thick with divine possibility that it is a wonder we can walk anywhere without cracking our shins on altars. It seems to me that this awareness of God in the world is exactly what summer should be about!