Sunday, November 10

He Gives Himself

"May the God who reimagined a broken humanity take our gifts and intentions to work with him to restore health, wholeness and beauty to the world."   
Pentecost 26 :: November 10
Today with sons in pajamas long into the day, wishes for the next season being put down into happy lists, I purged the cupboards in our home, made room for the worship, removed the wax, shined the glass.

Tucked in the drawer with the place mats and the birthday candles, empty match books and stray Christmas ornaments I found that first pamphlet; the one from the first day of our introduction. The interview with my husband before our new community: Introductions and Epilogues.  And the deep welled up within me.

Why do we tuck significant things in strange places?  Did my mother do that?  Slip the momentos into the china hutch?  Tuck the memories among the vases and the candles we only pull out at Christmas?  Did I think I would stumble on it at some later date and sigh?  Perhaps I thought there'd be a time when we'd have friends around our table and I'd casually pull it out and gratefully say, "Look, this is what brought us here. This is why we're together like this."  Surely, I never could have imagined.

With everything put to rights I stored the paper with the other items I will cherish sometime out from now. Then, looking out into the yard at the naked grape vines, the breath slowing in the dogwoods, the hostas long asleep, I spoke words from a deeper place: "{our lost brother} did not bring us here. The Father did."  Then I took another breath and filled the deep with hope.


These are the last weeks of Ordinary Time.  And in as much as we both have and haven't started a new community we make visits to other places for worship, finding the beautiful people and expressions of this city we call home.  Tonight we went back to that very church we entered right after we first arrived.

That Easter morning, before our introduction to the new friends in the afternoon, we dressed our three small sons (oh, how they've grown) into suitable clothes and found this liturgical community that was a little bit jazz and a little bit Jesus.  They offered sweet busy bags for the boys, a feeling of family, and theology deep and thick.

Tonight, their losses are evident.  They've experienced the hard too.  I wondered, do they go through their own cabinets and find momentos from times of great invitation that turned to great challenge?  Do they ask God for answers or do they just tuck the past away and take the new journey?  In that room I could find many mentors.  We'd tell this same story I think:

God himself does not give answers. He gives himself.       - Frederick Buechner

Advent is coming.  Advent means coming.  And all of us seem to be in a state of preparation for that something new that's really about something very old.  A story that doesn't change; a God who walks with us no matter what.  "I promised that I would always be with you.  I am still with you, so do not be afraid. "  Haggai 2:5