My Lettered Better today is Rev. Fritz Holtz, because I found a post by him about being a good communicator, while I was trying to solve a puzzle.
I’ve been asked to give another service at the local church. I’ve done this twice now, it’s not something I ever imaged, 2 years ago, I’d ever do. I’m not really a church person. I was baptized in a church, I was made to go to church growing up (mostly regularly, our family wasn’t too strict on the whole thing), and I’ve believed in God most of my life – all of my life, if you count when I was trying to be an atheist, and couldn’t quite figure that out.
I’m not a church person. I don’t know the terms and the histories and the underlying meanings and the protocols and all of that. It’s a real mystery. Sometimes people around me in church reveal a knowledge of specifics that seem to come to them naturally – that is, they have been “in church” for long enough to Know Things.
Like, for example, what the term “Proper 10” means. I was kindly sent a cheat sheet to help me prepare the upcoming service – picking from a selection of scriptures, and then reflecting upon those. The cheat sheet’s title reads:
July 10 – Fifth after Pentecost
Well, OK. Thanks for the cheat sheet. What the heck is a Proper 10? Maybe I need to know that, to do the best job I can. Sometimes I cut corners and don’t do all my work as thoroughly as I can – this is a busy life, after all, and one must pick their battles – but then other times, I like to try and do something close to a thorough job. Like trying to understand the context I am about to step into, and comment on. What is a Proper 10?
I could have asked the person who sent me the cheat sheet, but then that would be cheating. I’m only going to cheat once on this assignment, and I have the sheet already. I Googled it, of course: Proper 10.
Admittedly, I didn’t try for that long, and I actually used DuckDuckGo, but still, I didn’t get any immediate answers, just more writing that presumably goes along with whatever Proper 10 is. I did not yet consult Wikipedia- I wanted to see what a generic search would do. I’ll Wikipedia Proper 10 now:
Nope, no love. Wikipedia couldn’t care less about Proper 10. How about actual Google (sorry, DuckDuckGo):
Uh, I don’t know. Year C? Ordinary 15 B? Do I have to look up what a lectionary is? I could, but then I’d have to learn even more words – I just know it. It’s a trap of words.
How about Bing? Maybe this is what Bing is for.
Anyway, Proper 10 is a Christian thing and everybody who is a real Christian either knows this secret information, or is pretending to know. Maybe we all forgot. It’s a date, or an event, or something. Fine. Is there a Proper 9? There is. 11? Yup. 18, also yes. There is no Proper 180. I mean, skateboarders might beg to differ, but you get what I’m getting at. I’m going to do some process of elimination, give me a minute. Switching to StartPage…
My inconclusive conclusion is that there are 29 Propers, Christian-wise. That’s as far as I’m going with that. What does Sowing God’s word have to do with this, anyway? I don’t know.
My search for the answer led me to the Internet, which led me to sermons and thoughts about Proper 10, rather than the definition I was looking for. Rev. Fritz’s blog was just one of those, and the one I chose to click on. I enjoyed the post.
Maybe what I needed wasn’t knowledge about proper 10 anyway. Rev. Fritz, on behalf of his wife, tells me this: We are all sowers. Nothing more, nothing less. He means, I think, that we have to speak truth, as best we can, and what follows from that is really out of our hands. We are called to speak truly to each other, but we are off the hook, as far as how our words matter to those who hear them.
It doesn’t matter, I guess, what Proper 10 means. I’ve decided instead to ask the congregation if anybody can tell me. Maybe that will provide something to the service that I can’t, on my own. Otherwise, I’m going to just speak plainly about what I struggle with, understanding scripture, and try and say a true and hopeful thing. I’ll ask God for help in doing this well.
And then I won’t worry about all the things I don’t understand, and all the things that are not mine to control. All it takes is one seed somewhere, and you just can’t know what might come next.