Sunday, July 10, 2005

An icy hot day at the end of the beginning

Since we last talked, there have been ordinations, mortgages, hellos and goodbyes, beginnings and endings. I'm sure you will get all caught up over time, and if not, then there will be more stories to share when I see you the next time. For now, I'm just going to share a bit about my day.

Today was my first Sunday as the curate in my new church home. I've been working in the office all week, getting settled and stuff like that (lots of organizing! yay!) but today really felt like my first day. I got to preside at the Eucharist at both 8:00 and 10:00. At 8:00, the lovely gentleman serving as acolyte and chalice bearer said to me during the setting of the table, "Stop shaking. You're doing fine." I replied that I was pretty sure it would take a few years for the shaking to stop. In the meantime, I hope I don't knock over a chalice. Ah well. Presiding is simply wonderful, I am quite sure already that I will never get tired of it, and if it involves shaky hands, well, God knew what we were getting into.

Then, I drove to a planning meeting for a celebration that is to happen sometime in the next couple of months. The church camp where I grew up, and then spent several summers as staff, is being developed and sold. Our diocese is no longer able to afford its upkeep, there have been a lot of maintenance problems, etc. It is incredibly sad. Those of you who have had the privilege of camp ministry know that camp is a sacred space. I cannot even begin to count the number of lives changed in that place: the number of children who learned that God is not only for their parents, the number of youth and young adults who discovered that with God's help they could love even the most difficult campers, and the number of people who learned that God loved even them. This place has been central to my formation for nearly twenty years - and it does not cease to amaze me how people are surprised by the deep grieving happening with those of us whose faith journeys are woven into the fabric of this place. Grief cries out for a way to say goodbye, to celebrate what has been, and to gather with those who share our memories so that we can remember that hope goes on, life goes on, and God moves in other places. So, a group of us gathered to plan just such an occasion. I hope it will be helpful to see the buildings one last time, and perhaps discover that we can say goodbye to things and places without losing what they meant. I hope that this gathering will help us move to new opportunities for youth ministry - including a more sustainable camping ministry. It is a celebration, not a revolution, we are planning... but you never know what might happen when people come together to talk about their encounters with God, Christian community and the power of love. At least, thats what I decided on the way home while I listened to this song.

We’re trying to see beyond
The fences in our own backyards
I’ve seen the kingdoms blow
Like ashes in the winds of change
But the power of truth
Is the fuel for the flame
So the darker the ages get
There’s a stronger beacon yet

Let it be me
(this is not a fighting song)
Let it be me
(not a wrong for a wrong)
Let it be me
If the world is night
Shine my life like a light

In the kind word you speak
In the turn of the cheek
When your vision stays clear
In the face of your fear
Then you see turning out a light switch
Is their only power
When we stand like spotlights
In a mighty tower
All for one and one for all
Then we sing the common call

Let it be me
(this is not a fighting song)
Let it be me
(not a wrong for a wrong)
Let it be me
If the world is night
Shine my life like a light

-"Let It Be Me", Indigo Girls (of course)


Raisin said...

Alleluia! Susie's back! I'm charmed by the new blog design, too.

T-Meister Funk said...

I am in agreement with Rain. This is nice. A good way to beginagain.

Jane Ellen+ said...

Oh, it's lovely! And welcome back!

Beth said...

Indeed, it is beautiful. As is your reflection.

Now stop making me cry. :)