03
Feb
11

longing for home

I’ve been away too long. My last posting was nearly 7 weeks ago on December 20th. Not sure what all happened in that time to keep me from writing. Seems like a dark time in many ways, nothing to do with Christmas, but a lot to do with the intricacies and vagaries of church polity. Whether it’s broadly denominational or narrowly congregational, the church world is a complex one where I simply do not find the promise of the Gospels all that often. What is wrong with this picture? Is it me? Some would say yes. I have said yes on far too many occasions. In fact, for most of my lengthening life, I have tended to come to this conclusion. Now in my 7th decade, with some degree of history to call upon, I know that I am a very small cog in a very large wheel. I am not the elephant in the sanctuary.

What I am is a cracked jar—a crystal clear, cracked jar lying in an old river bed, muddy with the millennia of human misdeeds—some of them mine, some of them yours. I am not alone, everyone is some sort of a cracked or broken jar, and yet I feel quite alone way too often. I long for a community of caring where, when necessary, friends lay down their lives for one another (John 15:13). This does not mean standing in front of a Mack truck so your friend can saunter across the street. But if the truck is an offensive ideology, bias or untruth that causes great harm to your friend, and you can do something about it, do it! Stand up, speak out. Risk your comfort zone for your friend’s safety, dignity and well-being. That is what Christ followers are called to do. I do not see it happening very often in the church world. What I see is self-interest and a lot of maneuvering for a slice of some kind of store-bought pie.

I am a cracked jar, many times broken and many times packed back together, forming glue seams and stress points that never quite forget themselves. I am a cracked jar standing open, filling with rain until the weight of it overturns me into a bell ringing its song along the river. Some days the sound is clear and resonant. Some days not, and I am once again standing upright in the river bed. Inevitably, I fill with rain and it seeps out through my seams and cracks onto the mud in which I stand. I long for home.

Ships that pass in the night, and speak each other in passing, Only a signal shown, and a distant voice in the darkness; So on the ocean of life, we pass and speak one another, Only a look and a voice, then darkness again and a silence.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

God in me and me in God, passing through the narrow gate together. It is harder than the righteous would have you believe. It is Home.

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5 Responses to “longing for home”


  1. 1 Meg
    February 4, 2011 at 2:07 am

    Ah, yes, the church…not always the sanctuary I long for it to be…very often the stage on which prima donnas hungry for the limelight wield their will indifferent to the needs of God’s other children…and so it goes…but I’ll be there

  2. 2 judy
    February 4, 2011 at 7:43 am

    My little cracked jar… always willing to be patched up and try again.
    Glorious!

  3. 3 Susanne Donoghue
    February 4, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    Lately I haven’t been to church except for the great feasts. Went to Wendell Sprague’s funeral at Reba, though, and connected with a lot of other cracked jars. While I was working on my Christmas letter, an idea came to me, though, that I’ll share with you for what it’s worth. If I am looking for God (or God’s community) in the church, or anywhere outside me, I am looking in the wrong place. The Kingdom of God is within me, and if I want to see Jesus (and I do!), I have to find his light inside me and let it out. In other words, I have to be the church before I can see it. We will go home all too soon! And then we will know as we are known, but on the way there? The Kingdom is within. Hope this helps.

    • 4 Naomi
      February 4, 2011 at 5:28 pm

      Let your light shine….Matthew 5:13-20. This is one of the Lectionary readings for Sunday. Yes, let the light shine forth personally and corporately, with compassion, respect and inclusion of all people made by God, in the image of God. That would be everyone. Let that light shine brightly so that leadership knows the way home as well. Thank you for sharing your light.

  4. 5 Judy B.
    February 8, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    From one cracked jar to another….It’s good to have you back. I have missed your eloquence.


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