Monday greetings from a roasting Chicago. I know that many of you live in places where the summer heat has become unbearable; hoping you are finding places to stay cool.
One of the great things about living in a city like Chicago is the way that summer just explodes with activities and events.
Chicago's Millennium Park has a summer concert series at its Pritzker Pavilion. Friday night, after work, several of us gathered there to hear Carmina Burana. I think this is one of the most beautiful outdoor concert spaces in the world.
Yesterday morning, beginning at 1:00 A.M., approximately 10,000 of us participated in the annual L.A.T.E. ride, a bike ride through the various neighborhoods of the city. The route is about twenty-five miles. Three of my colleagues from WLP and J.S. Paluch participated in this year's ride.
The ride ends up at Buckingham Fountain on the shore of Lake Michigan, just before sunrise. After the long ride, it is refreshing just to sit down and watch the sun rise. Here is a photo I snapped just as the sun began to rise:
And another a minute or two later:
And here is what yours truly, at 54, looked like after the ride concluded:
All of this before 5:30 in the morning.
I then went home and had some breakfast, then headed off to church. Do you ever have one of those experiences at Sunday Mass when everything falls together for you? When our deacon proclaimed the Gospel (Jairus' daughter and the woman with the hemorrhage), it was as if I was hearing the story for the first time; it was so powerful to me. And our parish musician chose one of my pieces, Help Me, Lord, as the hymn at the preparation of the gifts; it just seemed to fit so well. He then chose to do a piano improvisation on the piece after communion. His is an extraordinary talent and, to me, it felt like exquisite art was unfolding right in front of me. Good presiding, good proclamation of the readings, good music, good preaching; all done in a community of people that I love.
Praise God for a wonderful weekend in Chicago.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.