Sacred Fire, Holy Saturdays, Sunday Morning Calls

Tomorrow’s scripture readings/lessons in many churches will be these, brought together by the liturgical themes of Transfiguration Sunday.  I was blessed to be part of conversation this week about the need even we postmoderns have to leave spaces where we experience the holy different from how we found them.  In the story of the transfiguration, Jesus’ disciples long to build booths to mark what they’d experienced, or, perhaps, to provide shelter so they might stay in the presence of the transfigured Christ forever.  During Sukkot in New York, some contemporary Jewish groups build temporary booths in Union Square, and if you’re like me, you can’t come up from the steps of the subway without wanting to linger and explore them.  Throughout the Hebrew Bible, the Children of Israel build altars or monuments to mark the places where they encountered God, even in the middle of rivers.

Today was Whitney Houston’s funeral.  I wasn’t able to watch it, but it prompted W.W. Norton to promote this book, which looks amazing. I want to judge Norton harshly for using an oblique reference to the service to promote their wares and their brand on Twitter, but I also know that sacred fire is confounding.  Was Norton taking part in the kerygma today?  I can’t say, but I can say that the Holy Ghost has done stranger things, even to me.

Some parting music as this night bends towards Sunday morning: