Sunday, September 21, 2008

Friends of the heart.

Today after a long absence I went to church.
Now God and I talk all the time... I natter on constantly and God patiently listens and listens and listens.
But sometimes I need a format for my faith, I need to be surrounded by people who think like me, who see God everywhere, who live their faith so well they don't have to talk about it.

So after some urging of a friend and colleague I went to church. A new church peopled with old friends. A few years back the church I attended fell apart. These things happen, I know. Politics and religion and faith get confused and people get hurt. Things get said that can't be unsaid, feelings are hurt, people come and go, some stay, some don't...
The church I went to was for a while, a home for me. I tend to wander religiously. I grew up Baptist, stopped for awhile, became Catholic, attended an African American Presbyterian church in NYC, went back to being Catholic, tried some other churches, and finally landed for awhile in an Episcopal church where there were Baptist hymns, mandolins, labyrinths and an amazing sense of the Holy Spirit. I, who never joined groups, joined groups, spoke in front of a crowd, was elected to the Vestry and loved every minute of it. Until it ended. Then I picked up and moved on. It has taken awhile to get in the groove of going to church again. I saw too many people I loved hurt by the shake up in administration. Priests left, people were fired, harsh words were said and sides were taken while many, many tears were shed...
And some wondered where was God in all this? That's just the thing, God was there, we were the ones running around frantic, hurting and blaming. We the humans were the ones hurting each other. So I took a break from the humans. Luckily God sticks around no matter what, He hangs out in my car, my home, my heart. I can tap into God whenever, wherever, but the friends, they are not so easy...
A lot have gone elsewhere, some here in town, some out of town. I had been traveling about 40 minutes away to go to church near the Retreat Center. But w/ the price of gas and our current money saving tactics, I decided to look closer to home. So I went to a place where I knew a few people. It was lovely.
I saw friends who had a place in my heart forever and always. One of my dearest friends was the chalice bearer and served me communion. I got hugs and gave hugs. I reconnected. I stayed for Sunday school after the service. We had it on the porch under the trees, talking as the wind blew gently and the birds sang.
It was good to be back. To see friends, to pray in a group, to sing, to be silent, to take communion.
I am a prodigal daughter and I am back...
Just let the calf live!

1 comment:

Joy Hayes said...

Hi Martha,
I discovered your blog today, and found this entry very moving. We have managed to stay connected to a couple of people from the old church, but we miss you and Bob and so many others. I have so many fond memories of the retreat we went on, the Integrity group, and just so many other things. We have joined a church that is a great fit for us, but we miss our friends from the old church. We would really love to get together with you and Bob and reconnect over coffee or something.