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I remembered that once upon a time, I had done a talk inspired by this Stephen Sondheim song title — “Giants in the Sky,” from Into the Woods. Since I’m gearing up right now for opening weekend of Musical Theatre Southwest’s production of Into the Woods, I thought I’d look back and see what I’d written about it before.

  • First, I was startled that it was over nine years ago — January 2015. Have I really been at this so long?!
  • Next, I was touched to recognize the context in which I’d written it. At the time, Travis and I were considering a move to the Pacific Northwest because I was in discussions with a community in Washington about an open ministerial position there. It was also less than a month before my mother’s unexpected passing. Those were disorienting times.
  • Ultimately, I was pleased to find that it holds up quite well. Rarely do I revisit old sermons because I like to write about the moment I’m living in real time, and usually it just doesn’t work when I try to circle back. I tell myself that recycling an old talk will save me some time or give me a little break, but then the freshening-up process ends up being more trouble than it would’ve been to start anew.

But this one, nine years later… I’m still wrestling with all the same fundamental existential quandaries. The context has changed — the world is different, I’m different. But still I’m wondering about how to stay grounded and present while, at the same time, looking forward with hope and fear and intention and doubt. Still facing a million unknowns, trying to keep my heart open, trying to allow that in itself to be a transformational adventure.

One of the storylines of Into the Woods is the fairy tale, Jack and the Beanstalk. When Jack returns from his pilgrimage into the land of the giants, he sings:

And you scramble down and you look below,
And the world you know begins to grow:
The roof, the house, and your Mother at the door —
The roof, the house, and the world you never thought to explore.
And you think of all of the things you’ve seen,
And you wish that you could live in-between.
And you’re back again, only different than before —
After the sky.

Here we are again, after the sky. Also, always and again, gazing into the sky with wonder and hope and maybe a bit of trepidation.

I can’t wait to be with you this Sunday, March 3, 10:00am at Maple Street Dance Space. XO, Drew

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