Tag Archives: Religion & Spirituality

from the heart of my bottom


A mess is made whenever people get together.

Always.

And I’m amazed how others, but mostly myself, still pretend that any time people get together it will not be a mess, among all the other beautiful and stunning things that it always is as well, of course.

But beyond that mess, ever present and reliable, is something deeper and a little more true. Beyond the inevitable mess made when people get together is a promise that people stay together, in one way or another, in the mess of it all. And sometimes staying together means staying physically housed together. Sometimes it means continuing to work together.

And sometimes it means taking the pieces of each other that, as much as we thought or intended or assumed would do otherwise, still stick to us and move into new worlds and new places and new possibilities with those sticky pieces of where we come from and what we are made of.

It’s bound to us in the same way our family name is bound to us and the heritage of our story and trial and DNA are bound to us. Like it or leave it, this is where we have come from, and this is who we are.

This morning, I had the chance to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the church I was raised in. And while time has passed and circumstances have moved faster than passing time, I was struck by the celebration of the organist who has played at that church for the last fifty years. He was playing the organ for the church when my parents met, when they were married, when I was born, when I chose to commit to the faith, when I graduated, and when it was time for me to move on.

His service is marked by a long-time faithfulness to the ins and outs of the messiness of people and groups of people just as much as his long-time faithfulness to the celebration of all that is good and true in a congregation. And today, as he marched up the platform stairs with his cane to receive a gift of appreciation for his fifty-year service, I was caught emotionally off guard. His walk up the stairs reminded me of the value of the mess, and the occasional times of not-messiness, that happen when people get together, and what it can mean to see things through.

But moreso, it reminded me of the goodness of looking back, half a century later, and seeing that the work continues, and the call continues, and the kingdom still comes. Mess and no mess. God works through his people toward kingdom come on earth as in heaven.

So to Bobby, from the heart of my bottom as he would say, thanks for your longtime service, and for the reminder that the world goes not well, but the kingdom comes.

djordan
Pine Tree

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from the archives | when there’s nothing else to do

 

 

In reflecting on the upcoming one-year anniversary of mosthopeful.com on August 23, I’m throwing some of the posts that readers have looked at the most back into the mix. Thanks for allowing me the space. It’s been a most humbling experience.

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View original post from May 2, 2012

when there’s nothing else to do

 

We were standing in a huddle, sixty people maybe, I can’t do numbers. The room is a room I spent many evenings in as a teenager, the church building of friends. We have misbehaved in that room, giggled, sung, prayed, pretended to pray, cried, married, listened, pretended to listen.

Tonight, no longer teenagers but many with children of our own, our parents not as young as they used to be, other new and old faces, tonight we huddled together in that room.

Prayer was being offered about one issue for one family tonight, but from the little I know of others’ lives in the room, I know that the room itself was heavy with issues that seem impossible to figure out or fix. And there we were, heavy, huddled.

Our hands feel best when we are fixing something, and our minds feel most productive when we are figuring something out, but there are many times––in fact it would probably be most times if we told the truth to ourselves––that our hands don’t know how to fix it and our minds can’t figure anything out.

We know too, however, that our hearts are telling us things are heavy and unsure and something must be done to help us move closer to the kind of shalom our brittle little hearts were made for in the first place. We don’t know what to do, but we know that something is not right.

And so we huddle together and do the only thing we know to do to give purpose to our hands and minds.

We pray.

We own up to the fact that we can’t figure out how to fix it, and we don’t know what to even think about it. We own up to the fact that our hearts can’t lie even if they wanted to when they are breaking open.

And prayer, in a huddle of people who have been there with us and seen us at our best and worst, becomes the only thing we can do.

So we pray. And we confess that we have joined the long defeat regardless of any promise of the outcome. We confess that our goal is obedience of seeking what is best for our own and our community and our children, but the goal seems out of reach, too massive, too complicated.

But something in us, perhaps the glimmer of the kingdom in us that shines when everything feels dark, something says that when nothing can be done and nothing can be said the only thing, by God, to do and say is to huddle together and pray that the kingdom would come on earth as it is in heaven.

And we resign to the fact that the huddle and the prayer and the messy people who are forming both are who and what we have been given as we hurt and hope and long together for the shalom our brittle little  hearts were made for in the first place.

djordan
Pine Tree

RELATED POSTS | The Long Defeat | It’s Been a While | Time for Everything

 

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