Last weekend a number of friends from our former congregation came together to meet and greet and enjoy each others company. Nothing unusual about that, except that this is the congregation that now exists in painful division  after the effort to extend membership to my partner and me failed in the most miserable of ways—on Pentecost Sunday, the day the Christian Church celebrates the gift of the Holy Spirit poured out upon the followers of Jesus.

Our friends came to see us and each other to affirm and enjoy. Each one had something to give to the evening and each one had something they mourned, but mourning was mostly absent, except for a few forced smiles and the sense of sadness that wafted through occasionally. Gatherings like this are all about closure and they are as bitter sweet as they are comforting. Closure is what we do in our society. We seek closure, as though anything can ever really be finalized, categorized,  shelved and forgotten—not even death. I don’t think anyone went home that evening feeling good or released from the issue that fills the space where we used to stand. I think we said goodbye in a dozen different ways—all of them leaving a stain in the heart.

My partner, Big Dawg and I are making ourselves at home in another congregation, but we can’t help the sense of knowing that what went wrong went horribly wrong, and the price to be paid will come due for everyone. As an idealist, I struggle with this. As a Christ follower, I see everyone’s tears melting into God’s tears and then…


Do you think God goes for closure? I don’t.

3 Responses to “closure”

  1. 1 Laurie
    August 18, 2009 at 10:05 pm

    I don’t see much of a biblical basis for “closure” either. There’s the whole narrative of God’s people following, messing up, following, really messing up, following…. It’s all one story of God’s grace and doesn’t divide neatly into beginnings and endings. Well, maybe you could argue that Jesus’ death and resurrection meant a certain closure for the old covenant, but even that is in the context of the big picture.

    This is my hope right now: If we (anyone touched by this thing) do the hard work of truly mourning (not avoiding) then God’s spirit will comfort us. You, Naomi, don’t seem to fear this hard work at all, bless you. If we tend relationships with love and humility I pray that ties of trust can form and God’s kingdom can grow in our midst. My questions are: What will that look like? And when?

    God is in this, too.

  2. 2 Naomi
    August 19, 2009 at 7:12 am

    Thank you for your thoughtful comment. Yes, it is all one story because it is “Both And” rather than Either/Or. It’s a new paradigm that is old…back to Jesus own teachings. Sermon on the Mount. God will comfort us, but lightening bolts will not come out of the sky with messages that turn us all around without effort. The God of compassion speaks constantly to all of us, but many do not listen because they don’t know his voice.
    Tending relationships with love and humility will be my next blog post.

  3. 3 Linda
    August 20, 2009 at 11:33 am

    No, lightening will not come from the sky to make it possible for people on earth to absorb Jesus’ message. But the message is there for all to read and hear and Jesus’ message isn’t difficult to understand. Just difficult to truly absorb, internalize and live. We imperfect people turn away from Jesus’ message at so many points in our lives. Usually we tend to do this – or at least I do this – in periods of weakness and confusion.

    As we watch the health care debate unfold and observe the hatred and ignorance that have been unleashed, we again begin to wonder. What would Jesus think if he were attending a town hall meeting filled with invective, rage and palpable fear that somehow someone is going to be cheated so let’s not even try to make life better for our fellow citizens? Most of the angry people at those town halls would probably consider themselves Christians but how far have they strayed from Christ’s message? I know, it isn’t for me to say. But this is another sad and vivid example of how we stray from the central message that is supposed to ground our lives and actions.

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August 2009

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