During the year Y2K, I was playing Saturday night Scrabble again with my last City of History landlord and housemate. I tiled a 3-letter word and asked Nick, "Is that a stretch?" because I tended toward imaginative or obscure (or imaginary) words. He replied, "No. It's a shrink."
One of my pastors in Previous City used to have a website called Stretchy Church! That one's defunct; online these days he mainly hosts a podcast called Spiritual Life and Leadership where he interviews people from all over the place. It's been a good way for the church to stretch a distance and it never could have happened without the worldwide stretch of the internet.
God, who stretched the spangled heavens
infinite in time and place
flung the suns in burning radiance
through the silent fields of space
we your children, in your likeness
share inventive powers with you
Great Creator, still creating
show us what we yet may do
© 1967 Hope Publishing Co.
Words: Catherine Cameron, William Moore
Music: Holy Manna, from Southern Harmony, 1835
• All the Words to God, Who Stretched the Spangled Heavens
I began with stretchy scrabble words and a stretchy church, but before those I remembered a hymn that sings of our stewarding the earth and of our co-creating with God. People sing it to different tunes, but it first got to me because I'm a pushover for traditional Americana hymnody like songs from Southern Harmony.
Stretch has many physical and psychological connotations, but the most important for today is to stretch boundaries and borders, to stretch our expectations and hopes to pray to listen and to search, to heed what we hear, to start healing creation. It starts with a very first move that then extends and stretches way far beyond this time and this space. Formed in God's Divine likeness, we stretch out our presence and our gifts and our reach. And we help stretch the borders of our local churches! Logically that stretches the reach of the universal church.
• This is a five minute free write. I thought about what I'd say before starting, but some of it doesn't come together well so if you're reading, please stretch your imagination.