Another NYC Transit tour, this time of the Flushing Shop where the #7 trains are maintained.
Archives for 2008
I’m a bit of a transit geek, so took a tour through the New York Transit Museum of the Old City Hall Station.
It’s been a while since I’ve posted, perhaps long enough to make some people (including me) wonder if I’ve abandoned this venture…. but today I have several things to offer up in thanksgiving that I’d like to share. I just returned from eight incredible days of travel, and there is much to be thankful for…
- I’m thankful for candidates for the ministry of Word and Sacrament who inspire and show incredible insight into the life of faith even as they do difficult work on ordination exams.
- I’m thankful for ministers and elders who take time out to evaluate and assist those who are journeying into ministry with honesty and grace.
- I’m thankful for friends whose presence can be meaningful and grace-filled even when words are not spoken.
- I’m thankful for the connectional church that binds us together across the miles.
- I’m thankful for friends who show hospitality, grace, and generosity.
- I’m thankful for the beauty of God’s creation in nature and in human creativity.
- I’m thankful for moments when reconciliation gets lived out.
- I’m thankful for an approach to LaGuardia that gives an incredible grand tour of NYC and everything around!
- I’m thankful for safe travels, including four flights with no significant delays or lost baggage!
So, over the past two Sundays, I’ve been preaching on Romans 8. It’s been fun to approach these things as a series. This Sunday, the Lectionary takes us to Romans 8:26-39 to finish the chapter. Trygve David Johnson has a nice look at this text at Theolog’s Blogging toward Sunday.
The end of Romans 8 is definitely in my top three favorite biblical texts. It’s just incredible stuff. Now normally I don’t turn to commentaries, especially this early in the week, but today I figured I might as well use that investment known as the New Interpreter’s Bible that sits on my bookshelf. I’m glad I did. This is quite possibly the longest commentary on fourteen verses in the whole twelve-volume set — in sum, this section covers about twenty pages.
As I read, though, I found the text illuminated in such an incredible way. There’s nothing quite like this — so many passages to fill so many sermons, so many inspiring words that illuminate a text that was already inspiring to begin with. Still, the end almost had me in tears.
We paraphrase, in conclusion, the final two verses of the section. Paul has spoken, and we must speak, of the love of the one true God. This love of God calls across the dark intervals of meaning, reaches into the depths of human despair, embraces those who live in the shadow of death or the overbright light of present life, challenges the rulers of the world and shows them up as a sham, looks at the present with clear faith and and the future with sure hope, overpowers all powers that might get in the way, fills the outer dimensions of the cosmos, and declares to the world that God is God, that Jesus the Messiah is the world’s true Lord, and that in him love has won the victory. This powerful, overmastering love grasps Paul, and sustains him in his praying, his preaching, his journeying, his writing, his pastoring, and his suffering, with the strong sense of the presence of the God who had loved him from the beginning and had put that love into action in Jesus. This is the love because of which there is no condemnation. This is the love because of which those justified are surely glorified. And this is the love, seen surpremely in the death of the Messiah, which reaches out to the whole world with the exodus message, the freedom message, the word of joy and justice, the word of the gospel of Jesus.
— N.T. Wright, “Romans,” The New Interpreter’s Bible
With that said, I’m not sure that there’s much more to be said. But anything you’d like to offer would still be appreciated!
I finally ventured out last night with a couple friends to see Wall-E. As usual, Pixar brings us a great movie, and I suspect I’ll be back to see it again in the theater. It was that good. And I’m not at all a movie person!
There are so many possibilities for thinking about allegory with Wall-E: the concern of global warming, the need for personal connection, even how the world pushes off the sacred. However, there’s something striking me about Wall-E’s commitment that bears some reflection.
Wall-E is, at his core, a faithful robot. He keeps doing what he was programmed to do (and no surprise, since he seems to be running some variant of Mac OS!) Even when all the other Wall-Es on Earth stop functioning properly, he keeps going. He scavenges parts off of other broken-down robots to keep himself running, and his ingenuity is something surely beyond his original design.
But Wall-E is something more than a faithful automaton, working beyond his scheduled useful life span. He recognizes that there is more to his world than just compacting the leftover trash of Earth. He is unafraid to collect things that strike him as interesting. You might say that Wall-E has a heart (as only Pixar can give). In the end, this ability to think outside the box leads him to incredible discoveries of love and life.
I have to wonder: Is Wall-E a good model for the life of a disciple? Is Wall-E’s faithfulness to his task while recognizing the things of beauty around him something we can learn from? Does Wall-E give us a little bit of the path toward a new creation that we so desperately long for?
There are surely countless other discussions that could emerge from watching Wall-E, but this is what struck me close to home.