I’ve been in a spiritual funk for a while. Maybe for a few years, actually. But I’m learning to live with it, the way you learn to live with depression in general—what my parents’ generation called being “blue.” It’s okay if one isn’t always “happy.” Our senses are so bombarded these days that they get used to everything being in Technicolor. Part of growing up, or maybe emotional health at any age, I think, is learning to live with the gray.
This morning something happened to inject a little color into the gray. We had a visiting priest at our parish. He came to Memphis for a baptism Saturday night, actually. The young couple bringing their daughter to be baptized had known this priest before they moved to Memphis. His name is Father Stephen Freeman, and he pastors St. Anne Orthodox Church in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. As is the custom, Father Troy, our pastor (and a wonderful spiritual father, counselor and preacher) asked Father Stephen to give the homily, or sermon.
When he walked out on the solea and greeted the congregation, there was an instant joy about him. His presence spoke as strongly as his words. He talked about the importance of our interdependence on one another as human beings, and also as members within the church. I’m sure he said lots of theologically rich things, but honestly, the main thing I remember (other than his joy, as I mentioned earlier) is that he referred to an old song from his childhood in the Baptist Church: “Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam.”
I remember that song! I’m sure I sang it at Bible School in the summers growing up I the Presbyterian Church. Somehow Father Stephen wove the message of that song into our spiritual lives as adults living in difficult times. I remember thinking, during the sermon, “I want to write a blog post about this.” But then I got home and couldn’t remember the details. But the joy was contagious, and I found myself uplifted all day. Even tonight, after midnight, as I sit here writing this post.
Father Stephen has a terrific blog called “Glory to God for All Things.” Need a lift? Check it out.
He also has some excellent podcasts, like this one about icons, called "Beauty and the Salvation of the World," on Ancient Faith Radio.
What a treat to have him visit St. John this weekend. I’m off to bed now…. My husband always reminds me when I’m humming, a habit I think I’ve had all my life. Tonight he might catch me humming “Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam.”