Thursday, November 17, 2011

1865, 1866, 1867, 1868. . .

The GPS closing ceremony to remember Second's history

Sometimes it takes more than words to help us remember what needs to be remembered. Sometimes it takes an intentional ritual.

Which is why -- among other reasons -- the church creates rituals for the sacraments of baptism and holy communion as well as rituals for weddings, funerals and other special times.

But it's possible to create ad hoc rituals -- rituals on the fly, if you will -- to help us focus on something important. And that's what the GPS team has done. We have devised a closing ritual for our meetings -- a ritual that reminds us of the nearly 150-year history of Second Presbyterian Church and of our hope for a bright future.

In our work of looking toward the future, we want whatever we recommend to be in harmony with our past, so at the end of each meeting we do this:

We each take a small strand of red rick-rack -- sort of a serrated ribbon -- and we tie it on to the previous piece of rick-rack, and as we do that we name one of the years of Second's past. When we have tied on the next strand of rick-rack, we say: "God was with us in 1922 and we pray God will be with us into the future."

The first strand represented 1865, the year of Second's founding. As of our meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 16, we are up to 1957. Paul Rock brings to our meetings a year-by-year history highlight of Second, and as we name the various years, he often will remind us of some event from that year in Second's history.

It's one way of helping us understand that Second was here long before us and that we hope Second will be here long after we're gone. Part of our GPS work is to help ensure that future so Second can be part of proclaiming and demonstrating what the reign of God looks like.

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