since the party didn't start til 9:00 pm, i didn't have to be there til 8:00. but that meant going to the wee hours of this morning. got home about 3:00 am. sleep by 3:3o or so and my ongoing issue of not being able to sleep more than about 6 hours meant waking up promptly at 9:30. so i figured i would catch the sermon at redeemer on the west side at 64th. service started at 9:15. i was out the door at 9:41. not bad, if you ask me. ran to the subway, down the stairs, swiped my mta (metro transit authority) monthly pass, and quickly made my way to the platform. looked down the tunnel and realized that there was no train in site. the view from 96th looking uptown is clear for several stops. no lights means no train! no way i was going to make it to 64th in time for the sermon, but perhaps that was ok.
still, i tried. i ran back up the steps from the platform, through the turnstile, up the stairs to the sidewalk and saw the m10 across the street heading downtown. i booked it over there and made it on, thanking the driver. there weren't very many on the bus so i just stayed at the front and, as i like to do, started talking to the driver. anisha told me i was lucky to get on the bus. i told her i was late for church and grateful that she waited for me. she smiled and said the reason i was lucky is because she was giving her tithe to the woman who was keeping the bus from moving and got off just before i got on. this was a sister!
she asked where i was heading and i told her. then i asked where she went and she said that driving the bus made it pretty difficult to ever go, which made it all the more amazing to me that she was giving a tithe at all. she said she likes preachers that keep her awake since so many cause her to go to sleep. like this one preacher she enjoyed. "he was a preacher with drama!" which meant that he preached on adultery and used the affair he was having as a sermon illustration while his wife sat in the front row and yelling "preach! preach!" gotta love a church that is so real that the community allows for some sinners...in the pulpit!
i told her she'd enjoy hearing me preach since i had drama too. dr. keller at redeemer has been talking about community a lot recently. luke 15 has the religious leaders upset with jesus since he was hangin with "sinners and tax collectors." they had never seen a community like this before. a community with sinners?! crazy. he ended his sermon by saying the body of christ must commit to the flock - the one jesus died to build. this means committing to a community that allows each other to be sinners.
what a gracious understanding of community. anisha said that whatever drama i might have, god wouldn't have given it if he didn't know i could handle it. i love it when bus drivers preach. didn't even need to go to church anymore. she had already reminded me of god's presence even in the isolation of this place. and with that, had reminded me that he knew what real isolation was all about. he experienced it for me so that ultimately, i wouldn't have to.
those 30 blocks by bus were a great start to the day. don't worry, i still went to church. another good sermon. i'll save that for another time.