One more week before a two week break for reflection, rest and renewal - and what a full week this will be. Over the past 30 days we have celebrated both the baptism of a young family as well as the ordination of a new young clergy person. We have helped organize and shape a public vigil on behalf of sisters and brothers slain and wounded in Orlando, FLA and now, on Sunday, will confirm the baptismal vows of five young people. It will also be my joy to welcome into membership a young woman who is now discerning her call to ministry. Simultaneously, we begin an 8 week campaign of small group, house meetings to talk about how we will intentionally transition our ministries into those of a small church in the 21st century. Further,I have returned to my spirituality of tenderness research and writing. So to note that there is a whole lotta shakin' going on these days would be an understatement - and both Di and I are ready for a break.
I am thinking that once we head out of Dodge in 10 days for the Ottawa Jazz Festival I am going to take another internet fast. While we are in Canada, in addition to rest and music, we'll be spending a little time with L'Arche. In fact, we're staying an extra day in order to get to know some of the folk there and learn more about their ministry of tenderness. When we return to the US, I hope to be writing a lot, doing some house painting and home repair, and simply being in this moment. .It is a season for me to be tactile and earthy, immediate and grounded, with a bit hanging with the family mixed into some gardening and landscaping, too.
In my research, I came across this comment from Jean Vanier, the founder of L'Arche, who was noting that Aristotle spoke of the intersection of pleasure and desire being your well-tuned calling in the world. It sounded a lot like Buechner's insight that: The place God calls you is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger embrace." Vanier amplifies this saying:
The deepest desire for us
all is to be appreciated, to be loved, to be seen as somebody of value. But not
just seen — and Aristotle makes a difference between being admired and being
loved. When you admire people, you put them on pedestals. When you love people,
you want to be together. So really, the first meeting I had with people with
disabilities, what touched me was their cry for relationship. Some of them had
been in a psychiatric hospital. Others — all of them had lived pain and the
pain of rejection. One of the words of Jesus to Peter — you find
this at the end of the gospel of Saint John — is, "Do you love me? So, the cry of God saying, "Do you love me?" and
the cry of people who have been wounded, put aside, who have lost trust in
themselves, they've been considered as mad and all the rest, their cry is,
"Do you love me?" And it's these two cries that come together.
I cannot tell you how compelling and energizing that truth is to me: when the cry of the Lord and the cry of the wounded are heard as one. I will keep you posted as this unfolds even as we take an internet break sometime very soon. Here's one of the Quebecois artists I am eager to take in while in Ottawa: Marianne Trudel.
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