25 September 2006

What a Difference a Year Makes

My church is young. By this I mean we've only been around for about 5 years. Every Labor Day weekend we mark our anniversary. So as I write this we've been around for almost exactly 5 years, plus a few weeks. We're young too, in the chronological age of our members. LightHusband and I are among the oldest people here. This flummoxes me regularly because I still pinch myself to remember that I'm a grownup now. The LightFamily has been part of the church since early 2004, so about half of it's life.

Shortly after getting intimately involved (we don't have members, we have a yahoogroup), I was asked to join the Design Team. This is the team that is responsible for opening up some kind of sacred space for people to meet God on Sunday mornings. That probably sounds very heathen. It's not. We're more conservative than that sounds, but still ... we are doing a series this year celebrating the Jewish holidays. We're responsible for creating the space for spiritual formation to occur at some level.

Last Labor Day weekend (2005) we had a labyrinth (as we often do on that Sunday), and a cookout. The next weekend we had a party welcoming our newest member into the world. The following Sunday we had a baptism. You can see photos of all these events on our website. Last September was analogous to Bilbo's birthday party in the beginning of the Lord of the Rings. Or perhaps it was more like the opening of A Tale of Two Cities; It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.... In any case, we were "shiny, happy people," with little thought of tomorrow.

This September things are all different. I won't say that we're not joyful anymore. That would be an untruth. But we're no longer shiny and happy. We've all walked through some dark places this year. Some darker than others. For some the path is not yet finished. Perhaps that means that for all of us, the path is unfinished. Regardless, this year has marked us all. There are lines on all of our faces. Ghosts behind all of our eyes. A steadiness and seriousness that comes with knowing darkness. And still the joy that comes with knowing the light.

Perhaps that's why this piece of Scripture seemed so appropriate for our Contemplation yesterday:

19 I remember my affliction and my wandering,
the bitterness and the gall.

20 I well remember them,
and my soul is downcast within me.

21 Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:

22 Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.

23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

24 I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him." (Lamentations 3:19-24)


Blogger Mike Croghan said...

Choking up...at work...AGAIN. :-)

Thanks, LightLady.

9/25/2006 10:30:00 AM  

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