Sunday, April 11, 2010

Spiritual Aristocracy in the Neighborhood

Today I was reading an essay titled, “The World of Science and the World of Value,” in which the great systems thinker Ludwig Von Bertalanffy said, “status symbols…must in some way be replaced by recognition of worthiness, of spiritual aristocracy, wherever it is found.”

This Easter, I attended church at Payne Chapel AME Church in our Central-Cocoanut neighborhood of Newtown in Sarasota, where the youngest members of the congregation – the children – led us in a reenactment of the Passion story.  While I have participated in many Easter services over the past 40 years – mostly in churches of the Episcopal denomination – I was especially moved by the experience this year.  The children’s account was more honest, and more earnest, than any I’ve participated in before. The adult members of the congregation were active contributors too – as narrators, musicians, and ushers – but it was most certainly the children who were leading us all in the worship experience.  The Reverend Clarence Honor affirmed the significance for himself as well, noting afterward that sometimes it is better to witness a sermon than to preach a sermon.

As I read Von Bertalanffy’s essay today, I realized that this Easter I discovered “spiritual aristocracy” in my own neighborhood, in the children.

It reminded me, too, of how often I am noticing this same quality among my fellow neighbors -- especially the neighborkids -- as we venture about to discover and invent ways of connecting, and a sense of belonging, in the patch of Sarasota that we call home.

This truly is a special place to be living.


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