Most mornings, when I pull up to the church, I still get out of my car and look over where we laid my dad’s ashes to rest and I murmur a quiet greeting. In that moment I hope almost desperately that the love that I send forth to him in my greeting transcends time and space and abides with him even now. That underscores for me that I am deeply connected to the very land our church is built on. Now, the seeds of the new program to serve adults who are cognitive and neurosensory divergent are starting to germinate and push through the rich soil of our community of faith. Our new logo captures something of the joy and color-filled work we are doing, though many days it feels like all I do is run like heck to catch up!
How not to lose sight of such grace as we try to find our way through the nitty-gritty of change: the displacement, the reckoning, the need to look to the future and not let who we have been and the things we all ours keep us stuck where there is little oxygen left? Man, it’s hard on everybody.
This past Sunday was much like most others. We could see good news right before our very eyes. We have a beautiful stained glass tryptich above the reredos that has been in great need of repair for a very long time. It got fixed last week, and not only that, it got cleaned, so the colors are even more beautiful, the light more truly itself, as it comes pouring in. Then, we ended the service with our quarterly town hall before the dismissal. Perhaps not liturgically correct, but a good way to keep communications open and transparent in our parish—indispensable in the midst of so much change. We have these town halls because, surely, having come together in prayer and eucharist, our hearts are more open to give and receive the vital information our parish needs in order to keep moving further into service after worship ends each week.
But this Sunday there was a small difference, easy to miss. A young man in hospital scrubs and a jacket that identified him as an Emergency Room nurse, came in a bit before the service began. I was only able to connect with him briefly and was pleased to see others greet him warmly as well. I wondered if we’d see him again.Yesterday, a staff member was in our narthex and found the slip of paper in the following photo.
I hope with all my being that this new possibility of many colors growing amongst us will blossom magnificently—we all so want to trust this is the kind of future God dreams of for us. As we go through old files, stuff pushed into cabinets, things boxed up years ago, it is clear: all the stories, the layers of laughter, tears, and community, that have been built on this land are kept alive in memory by a thousand and one mementos and reminders. Most, if not all of them, are infinitely dear to those who have been here a long time because they retell the story. All that is true. And. Perhaps on Sunday what we were meant to learn was that in one sense, what truly matters is that our church, with all its blessings and challenges, once again opened its doors. A person who needed some beauty, some grace, and a place to sit quietly after a horrendous night in the ER, got to regather himself, had a place to go.
What’s here. Right now. This is what we have and have to offer…