Monthly Archives: November 2014

On Darkness and Middle School

Proper 28 / November 16, 2014 / Year A

1 Thessalonians 5:11

Matthew 25:14-30

Preached: November 16, 2014, All Saints’ Church, Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY

When I was 11, I lived with my parents and my two brothers in a little colonial house on a hilltop overlooking a graveyard and an Episcopal church. The church was built in 1715; it was really old. My dad was the property manager–he opened the church up every day, he locked it up every night. He dug the graves with a backhoe, he filled them back in again after burials.

Our family operated within the rhythms of this country church. Many nights after dinner, I would get to ride along with him in the front seat of an old, silver pick-up truck, checking the perimeter of the church property, and locking all the gates. It was dark and I would often hold a Maglite out the window for him so he could see where he was going; I remember the hunch of his back as he swung closed the gates and fiddled with the locks, silhouetted by my careful beam of light.

The house was at the very edge of the township where my brothers and I went to school, which meant that we had the longest bus ride of anyone. And when I was 11 and in the 6th grade and just starting middle school, I thought it would be a good idea to be in the marching band–I played the flute–because they had pretty cool uniforms and I was generally an overachiever. What I did not realize was that marching band practice was at 6:30am, on the football field, in November and December and January. And also it involved marching.

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