We are getting ready for church this morning and I find my heart heavy. Actually, it's not so much my heart being heavy as my head being full.
There's a lot going on, you know? In the world. In the lives of some of my friends. In my life. Not a lot of it makes sense.
Sometimes, you know, you just can't think your way out of or even through things.
Sometimes, you just have to let stuff stew. Or simmer. Or marinate. Or, cool off. Before you taste a bit more, to see if you need to add something or if it just needs time before you can deal with it. Let the cake cool before you try to frost it.
That's when church can become important. It doesn't really matter if the choir is stellar or the preacher is particularly good (although that’s always lovely).
Sometimes, it's just being able to sit in the same holy space with people you know are also trying to sort stuff out, work stuff through, put stuff together.
You don't even really need to know the particulars of their story. You just see it in their faces. The way their shoulders slump. The something-something in their gait as they walk up to the communion rail and the way they walk back, hands together, head down.
Deep in the middle of the middle of The Deep.
Does misery love company? Perhaps. But, I don't think that's what's going on here.
I think The Holy is often found in a room filled with people who are broken and trying to make themselves whole again.
That's nothing the priest or the preacher or the choir director or choir has any control over. The only thing that makes that possible is for there to be an invisible but very clear sign at the entrance to the church and in every particle of every molecule of air in the "sanctuary" - the safe place" - that says, simply, "Come."
So, I'm off to go to a place where I know that's possible. It isn't always so every week. Some weeks, the message is stronger and clearer than others. You know, because we're human and nothing is ever perfect, except being perfectly human.
It's the possibility - nay, the probability- of unconditional welcome that's important.
So, I'm going to take a few minutes to gather up all the crumbs from under the little altars that are scattered everywhere in my life. I need to put them all together and bring them to the altar at my church where they can be gathered together with the other crumbs from under other altars.
And, through some mystery too deep for me to fathom, out of these many crumbs, gathered from many directions and wildly different sources, there will be enough to feed the souls of all who are there, with enough left over to be taken to those who are unable to be with us.
An ancient Palestinian Rabbi from Galilee has promised that it would be so.
I've learned over the years that the one promise you can always count on is one that comes from love that is incarnational.
So, off I go to be part of that. I hope the same can be true for you, too.