How do you measure a life?

The Rev. Emily S. Crouch

Feb. 9, 2014

(sing) 525,600 minutes, 525,000 moments so dear. 525,600 minutes – how do you measure,
measure a year? In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee. In
inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife.(stop) In 525,600 minutes – how do you measure a year in the life.

Throughout the week this song, “Seasons of Love”, from the musical Rent, was running through my mind.  Considering I have the soundtrack memorized it’s not so odd.  But, I’m sure y’all have these well loved and familiar songs, pictures, images or jokes that seem pop into your mind when you need them.  This week I found that nothing seemed to go as planned:  Our family was sick, snow days, no school and many plans never materialized.  The gospel image of salt and light was one I couldn’t help but be moved by and find funny—we need more salt for these icy roads!  And right now, Louisville has anything but an abundance.  And light:  The thing many of us crave desperately in these winter months.  And finding that there just isn’t often an abundance of this right now.  And yesterday I sang at a funeral of a beloved member of the Louisville music community.  For years he dedicated his life to singing.  What an honor to celebrate his life with many others.

And for the Annual Meeting — reports and measurements of who we have been as a parish this past year.  And, while numbers and reports are important, they can only cover so much.  The stories of who we are run much deeper.  How our stories connect to the larger story—and why the words of the prophet Isaiah, Paul and Jesus still speak to us very much today.  The reason that Jesus speaks to his disciples in present tense…You ARE salt, you ARE light.  Be a light for others.

But, I am very curious how many cups of coffee we drank this past year.  How much laughter could be heard from the children downstairs?  How many volunteered at our Food Pantry?  How many moments where presence of God took our breath away?  Or put another way, if you were to take a snapshot of your life a year ago and then a today, how would it be different?  Or, a snapshot of our church a year ago…and today.  What has changed?  How have you changed?

How do you measure a year in the life?

One of the things that Jesus does so frequently in the gospels is to take what is ordinary, bless and multiply it and then calls us to participate.  Take the wedding at Cana:  More wine was made to invite others to participate in the celebration; 5,000 people were fed after Jesus blessed the bread, calling others to come and eat; a storm is calmed, those in the boat are safe and faith casts out fear.  But Jesus doesn’t stay in the boat…he asked his friends to walk with him.

There is no way to neatly measure the miraculous—but I think there are many ways that God uses each of our lives, blesses them and calls us to participate and share this with others.

I want to read a different version of today’s gospel for a minute: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.

Last week I had a conversation with a parishioner who shared how she lives out her faith.  She has 2 young children and during this season of her life she feels grateful that she can spend it working in the community:  tutoring children, working with habitat for humanity, volunteering at church and elsewhere.  I was deeply inspired as I listened to her story.  Because what I heard went beyond what she did:  I heard Jesus speaking of us living our lives in such a way that we see that we are blessed, and because we are blessed, we spread this blessing; that we are called to be a light that makes it possible for others to shine.

How might today be the time to start this conversation with one another:  As we recall the events of the past year—in the life of our church and in our own lives—how do we continue to be light to each other and light in our world.  Because to do the opposite—to keep ourselves and our lives hidden does us all a disservice.  Jesus blesses us and then calls us to continue to live in such a way.  How will you measure your life today, tomorrow and each moment of this coming year.  AMEN.

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