With all the heartbreaking stories coming out of Boston, the title of Peninsula MCC’s email announcement last week puzzled me. “Ink Cartridge Sunday,” it proclaimed. Was this an analogy? (Sometimes I feel like a depleted ink cartridge that needs re-filling.) Or would the sermon be about not being wasteful of our lives, which are so temporal—or not being wasteful in our lives of abundance? None of those. Instead, Pastor Terri Echelbarger preached on focus.
Terri explained that Psalm 104:1-13 “served as the conversation companion to the news and events of the (last) week… and with my own struggle with angst and fear… calling my attention to something bigger than the events of each day…” Many of us were transfixed by the horror in the news broadcasts—not at the spirit of God moving all around us, but at the exceptions. What if we became ‘more in tune’ with the universe instead, Terri suggested.
At times when we are thrown off balance, Terri reminds us of the Psalms’ promise that God is “ever present to us, even as the earth trembles…” How can we find the courage to open our hearts to His presence? In the book of Job (12:7-8) lies a clue: “ask the animals, they will teach you, the birds of the air, and they will tell you, ask the plants of the earth, and they will teach you …”
As Joseph Campbell wrote,
The divine lives within you.
The separateness apparent in the world is secondary.
Beyond the world of opposites is an unseen,
but experienced, unity and identity in us all…
Today the planet is the only proper ‘in group.’
Recycling an ink cartridge may seem like a token effort towards the health of the planet, but it is symbolic of the small things we can each do. On Earth Sunday, as congregation members at Peninsula MCC filled a box with old cartridges, they were more than recycling. Their thoughts were focused on a vision and consciousness of something beyond the crises in the news: They were declaring their identity with the only proper ‘in group.’