Notes from Midway International Airport in Chicago–
I got to the airport in time for an interdenominational Protestant service in the airport’s interfaith chapel, so I joined a half dozen others for the noon service.
A young and energetic . . . and eager . . . minister presided; he is affiliated with Moody Bible Institute, so I pretty much knew what to expect.
What followed was a terrifically evangelical sermon that nominally used the Luke narrative about Jesus’ birth as its source. No exegesis took place in his sermon, sadly. I wish he would have realized he was preaching to the faithful. I wish he would have ministered to needs — weariness, longing for family, fear of travel, and the like — rather than try to get us to commit to a personal relationship with the baby Jesus. The minister is young; perhaps he’ll realize what pastoral ministry and chaplaincy truly is. If he can channel his eagerness into practicality, I’m certain he’ll grow!
I have always struggled with understanding . . . no, let me say more clearly: I simply do not understand those who pray using the delimiting word ‘just’ in every sentence. That word, in that context, limits and defines what one is praying for, rather than making the intent wider and broader. I should think that, rather than “We just thank you” or “We just come before you” we might instead pray “We thank you” or “We come before you,” and in doing so we would mean the same thing. The jargon of evangelical prayer is something I find very off-putting.
Read more on this topic:
I stayed in the chapel to read Morning Prayer from the on-line site dailyoffice.org.
And then I ate a McDonald’s quarter-pounder for lunch.
And now for something different:
Truly, thank you.
I have never encountered such smooth security, and such short lines, at STL or MDW.
You poured on the charm this weekend, especially on Friday when you expected the busiest single day of the year. You moved us through lines with efficiency, and you made the right choice in having a multitude of lanes open at airports.
I wish the security part of air travel was always this easy.
Congratulations, gang. You have a happy traveler sending grateful thanks.
One final note tonight: Joe the Pastor noticed that two young Muslim men were about to enter the chapel, just as the evangelical service was starting. He looked right at them, smiled, and said “Guys, we’re just starting a service in here. But here are two prayer rugs; you can use them in the office.” And so, as we prayed at noontime, we were joined by two followers of Allah, praying in the room next door. I found that symbolism so powerful that i was moved to tears.
And a final, final note: Evensong for the Fourth Sunday of Advent tonight at Christ Church Cathedral was the perfect end to a lovely weekend away.
The gospel reading for Evensong: For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whomever believes in him will not perish, but will indeed have eternal life.