Thank you, thank you, thank you...

About 100 years ago (or so it seems), I was driving up Mt. Lemmon in Tucson, AZ to join a youth ministry retreat on spiritual formation. My wife was leading a 3 day retreat with 14-17 year old young people who wanted me to do a session on centering prayer and meditation. (This was a once in a life time group of kids; she had already lined up folk to do art, music, movement and lectio divina with the kids and they were totally into it!)

As I was slowly moving up the four climate zones of the mountain - leaving the desert heat in the dust for the cool air of the mountain - this HONKIN' song came on that literally made me pull over and listen... and weep and try to find who did it! It was Alanis Morissette doing, "Thank You," and I have loved it ever since as a prayer and a call to gratitude.

And as I get ready to do another summer retreat tomorrow - this time with adults about discerning our calling in mission and ministry and going deeper into becoming a blessed community of Christ's grace - I am moved by the song again. I want to give thanks to the people of this faith community who are so willing to go into the wilderness in search of the promised land. I am so grateful for those who read my lengthy blogs and write me words of encouragement - or criticism, too. I am so grateful for my wife who puts up with my crazy sense of ministry - and who has joined the music part of it with such gusto, wisdom and tenderness. I am so blessed to have a chance to do ministry with REAL people - not folks fakin' it or snowed by the bullshit - but REAL people who know they are broken and ache for God's healing. There is so much to give thanks for...

Today I buried a 21 year old man/child who in the bleakest moment of depression took his life. What a privilege to be with his loving family - to weep and curse and pray and dream with them - as they live into the totality of this tragedy. My old friends in Aliquippa, Pa - the Community of Celebration - used to sing: Celebrate the WHOLE of it...! Sometimes that means silence - sometimes that means tears - sometimes laughter and sometimes... who knows. But they were right... and Alanis says it better than most.

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