mary lee talbot
“I say yes to being chaplain in residence because Chautauqua is a wonderful place to be,” said the Rev. Barbara K. Lundblad, chaplain in residence for Week Five. “I am amazed that people come day after day to hear me preach. You can wear yourself out in this setting.”
Lundblad, the Joe R. Engle Professor of Preaching at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, will preach at the 10:45 a.m. Sunday morning worship service, which will also include Chautauqua’s annual Ecumenical Communion service. Celebrants for the service include Lundblad, the Rev. Joan Brown Campbell and the Rev. Terry W. Bull, of Amherst, N.Y. There will be 66 clergy and assistants serving the stations around the Amphitheater, 12 of whom will be from the New Clergy Conference.
The title of Lundblad’s sermon is “Happiness Sits Still,” the story of Mary and Martha. Lundblad will share her faith journey at the 5 p.m. Sunday Vespers in the Hall of Philosophy. From Monday through Friday, she will preach at the 9:15 a.m. worship service.
Her sermon titles for the week include: “Happiness Beyond Myself,” “Happiness Begrudged,” “Happiness This Side of Heaven,” “Happiness Pursued” and “Happiness Gets Down.”
Lundblad has been at the Institution every other year for the past eight years. In 2011, she served as chaplain-in-residence for Week Five, the theme of which was “21st Century Women.”
“I met so many women last time,” she said. “I loved the morning lectures, made contacts, saw many of the same people again and again. I like to hear what the other speakers are saying, hear what happens outside worship that needs to enter the sermon.”
Lundblad admitted that this season’s theme for Week Five, “The Pursuit of Happiness,” was difficult for her to think about in terms of preaching.
“Happiness is a word that does not quite match Scripture; it is too optimistic, lighthearted,” she said.
“Joy and hope are words in Scripture; they are different than happiness,” she continued. “ ‘Pursuit’ means there is no guarantee — the culture makes the pursuit difficult.”
Lundblad cited the examples of states endangering the lives of women through abortion laws, the Supreme Court decision on the Voting Rights Act and the Court’s decision on gay marriage, which she says “pits the civil rights movement against the gay movement.”
She gave an additional example.
“In The New York Times you see ads for luxury homes — $50 million for an apartment,” she said. “Is that about the pursuit of happiness? The rest of us look on and say ‘Wow, I would like a place with that view,’ but on the other hand it is really disgusting. What does happiness mean in a culture of endless pursuit?”
Lundblad holds a bachelor’s degree from Augustana College and a Master of Divinity from Yale Divinity School. An ordained pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, she served for 16 years as pastor of Our Saviour’s Atonement Lutheran Church and is currently a pastoral associate at Advent Lutheran Church, both in New York City.