On the Willows

When I moved into the pastor’s office this May, I felt more like an explorer than a pastor.  Behind each door was a different treasure.  In each drawer a piece of the past.  Taken individually, the treasure could have easily been construed as trash.  From pieces of cement to moldy mimeographs, the pieces of the puzzles have been hidden away in the pastor’s office for nearly 20 years.  By the grace of God, and my own nostalgic leanings, I cleared out the drawers, closets, and crevices and sat amidst the debris before doing anything.  In the sitting in and with these treasures and hearing their stories from congregants, my story-tellers mind can almost picture a time when.  A time when this congregation was two different communities.  A time when they took the risk of merging and selling buildings.  A time when the numbers were so low they thought the doors would close.

In many ways this community represents the reality many Mainline congregations lived in and with over the history of our nation.  At the same time, there is something remarkable about this small but might community.  A community that had the courage to merge.  That had the courage to openly welcome lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgendered persons long before Chick Filet was even a blip on the radar.  A community that mourns for what was and still seeks to follow the Spirit.

It is in response to this Spirit that I felt called to honor this tension.  The tension of looking at yesterday and grieving what was while seeking the candlelight of hope for tomorrow.  So today wailed for the destruction of Zion.  We lamented the time that was.  We also lit candles for the future.  For it is time to learn to sing our song in our day. It is time to honor that the destruction of the temple is not the end.  Not the end of our faith.  Not the end of our God.  It is an invitation to seek the resurrection today.

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