"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.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Liturgy of Tears

{Thoughts as I'm transitioning from one congregation to the next}

The office--no longer "my" office-- is almost completely packed up.  Anyone who would peek inside would think me ready to go.  The bulletin no longer bears my name, but says only "Members of the congregation: ministers". There's no longer much proof that I was here--that I loved people in these walls, that I married and buried and baptized their loved ones.  It's quiet, maybe too quiet for my taste.  The only sound is the sound of my tears gently falling on the farewell liturgy I'm trying to finish.

But the joyful liturgy of transition I had in mind just won't come.  It's not ready to be written.
For now, there are only tears.   Holy tears.

Tears for the ones I love, and for the ones I haven't loved enough.
Tears for the opportunies we've found, and for the ones we've been too scared to realize.
Tears for the great memories made, and for the ones that aren't so lovely.
Tears for the amazing work of the Holy Spirit in our midst, and for the times we felt like a valley of dry bones.
Tears for a bright and lovely future as we go separate ways, and for a holy rememberance of the past.
Tears for all the broken hearts, and for the ways they've been bandaged up.
Tears for all the things done, and for the ones I wasn't brave enough or strong enough to do.
Tears for my next love, and tears for my first.

Tears, always, because I've loved, and learned what it is to be loved.
Tears of joy and grief and love and hope and trust--these are my offering of tears.  They're all I have right now.  And right now, they are enough.

Until now, I haven't noticed how powerful the words are.  But today, maybe I understand a little bit.
Maybe some of the biggest words in all of scripture are these:  Jesus wept.

And maybe it's the ability to weep with and for, and not the "Reverend" in front of my name, that makes me a pastor.

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