[Thoughts from the conference where I'll be this week: Writing and the Pastoral Life. I'm in rural Minnesota, at St. John's University and Abbey]
As I've been here, we've stayed really busy. When I looked at the schedule, I imagined that we would have much time to think and write and pray. But in reality this hasn't been the case. So the other night, when the schedule made it look like we had a free night, I was thrilled. But then after dinner, we were told to sit so we could all "talk". (As if we hadn't been doing enough talking... my inner introvert is running around screaming.) And worse than that, before we could start talking, we were going to sing a few hymns as a group. I'm not sure I'd been thrilled about that even if I could sing, but I can't, so mostly I just mouthed the words so that nobody would know.
But then, of course, someone suggested our last song be Amazing Grace. This song makes me weep anyway, but on this particular night, when we got to the line "I once was lost but now I'm found", something in me broke open. Not that I've never had the sense of being found, but more often than not, I feel lost. But at that moment, I knew that right then anyway, I was found. Something in me was found
"Graceland" is the name of my favorite song and album. It's by Paul Simon, but more importantly, it's what "home" sounds and feels like to me. We always listened to this album as we traveled from my home in Tennessee to my parents' childhood homes in Florida. But today, it's also a pretty good snapshot of my theology. Somewhere I really believe that the Christian journey is all about a wild trip to Grace-land. As I see it, Grace-land is the place where God is waiting to meet even us–with all the baggage and brokeness that we tote with us. Grace-land is the place where we will be received with open arms, even though our attempts at “getting it right” have been miserable failures at best. But, I think, every step we take is a step on the journey to Graceland.