Sunday, July 01, 2007

A Different Kind of Sabbath

I found myself tearing up in church today. That used to be a pretty regular occurrence, especially in those first days at St.M’s back in the Big City when I had found my way back, found my way home, had such an Epiphany. I would cry almost every Sunday then. Tears of joy and wonder that there could be such a place, that I had been taken in by them, and more importantly, by God. Those tears were transforming, the beginnings of the soul-turn that brought me to this place, that opened my heart to finally be able to hear and respond to God’s call. Lately, tears have come in church at those moments of strong feeling...ordinations, mine and others, leave-takings, but not so often during ordinary times. One guess about this I would make is that I so rarely have the time to merely “be” at a service, that to sink far enough into what I am feeling to even access tears is rare. But today, I had nothing to do. No roles to play, I was not the priest, there was no choir, all was taken care of by the capable others and I was able, for once to “let it be.” This has been a struggle for me sometimes. I seem to need to “do” when I am in church. And as I observed the tears beginning to well today, seemingly all of their own accord, I couldn't help but wonder about the role of all that doing in holding at bay the feelings.

There is so much here that is grace and blessing, wonder and miracle. As I hear the history of the years that the “faithful remnant” struggled to keep the doors open with a supply priest now and again, doing morning prayer, hanging in with one another, I am grateful and amazed for their faith and tenacity. When I remember how long the original team was willing to hang in with mentor after mentor, not really sure of when or if the day would come when they would be launched, my own impatience with systems and processes is silenced and humbled. And when I look around and see new faces, remember that we are receiving and confirming six new people in just two weeks, I feel great joy and wonder at the work God is doing among us. But we are human. And we are in change. And we are not always graceful with each other in this. We do harm sometimes. We bruise one another, sometimes unwittingly, and sometimes, sadly, with at least some intent to silence or push back someone we think is hurting or threatening us. Sometimes we forget who and whose we are. And our history too haunts us sometimes. There are those among us who carry wounds from the past. And then there are those that are simply gone from us whom we cannot heal, but about whom I have now been told, and whose ghosts sit among us, mute witnesses in our pews to the times we were not Christ to one another in some very big ways.

It’s been a little bumpy. Growing pains, I think, a lot of it. We are doing a new thing. It makes us anxious and edgy. It makes us forget. What we know. Who we are. Whose we are. How to be with and for each other. As I sat today with nothing to do but be, I saw these people around me whom I love and struggle with. God has given us to each other to be church together, given us the task of working it out together in this place, but not just for this place. So today I was grateful to have nothing to do but bring myself here, to be really ok with a few tears, to let go of the need to push it back with doing and let others minister while I simply sit.


Diane said...

I rarely get teary in church any more but when I do it's at moments like you describe -- when I have the opportunity to be and to reflect in worship, not adreneline-juiced for "what is the next thing I'm supposed to keep track of?"

These moments are gifts. Thank you for sharing.

Tandaina said...

Yes, I find those rare days when I'm "just" a pew sitter are the days I still tear up.

Gannet Girl said...

It sounds like there is an amazing story behind this post.

RevDrKate said...

This reminds me I need to sit more and work less, what a concept. And yes GG, there is indeed, or should I say, are, stories. Mine, theirs, ours. Posts to come, perhaps.

Serena said...

Great reflection. Look forward to reading the stories.