What fun we had at Messy Church this week! Our theme was ‘Sacred Journey’ and our celebration included activities that reminded us what different ways a Sacred Journey can take place. One kind of sacred journey is a walking or hiking journey. Sometimes a simple walk through the woods or over the mountains refreshes our soul. We see the glory of God all around us! Other times the journey is one of prayer. When we say a prayer, we step out to speak with and listen to God. There can also be the journey of time. We are born as little babies, but over the journey of our lifetime we become older, and then, one day, maybe even very old.
When we were planning Messy Church, we realized how hard it is to talk about getting older. Many of us shared memories of when we had been small children and encountered a person who was very elderly. When these persons were in wheel chairs or had special needs it was awkward for us.
As children we are often unsure what to think or what to do. I remember meeting my father’s mother when I was nine. She was very elderly and living in a care home. It was a real effort for her to come into the visiting area and sit with us. I had never encountered anyone so elderly before, and I remember how she leaned over in the chair. I remember how carefully they wheeled her in, and how gentle my father was when he spoke to her. She was too frail to be greeted with kisses or hugs. I sat on the floor near her feet and looked up at her. I puzzled over this lady I barely knew, yet a lady who was, none the less, an important part of my family.
I remember the awkwardness and practical stuff about that meeting, but I remember the ethereal things, too. Like how the light from the window shone behind her, contrasting softness with the hard rectangle shape of the back of the chair she was sitting in. I remember the chair was green and her hair was white and haloed in the window light. I remember the whole world became one of whispering, as my sisters and I sat hushed and watching and wondering at the mysteries of this most treasured person and her life.
We, as a culture, tend to rejoice at the beginning of Life’s journey with the birth of a baby, but often there is mourning at the end. It is difficult to notice that as the years pass it gets more and more difficult to do everyday things. And then come the days when we need real help.
We, as a culture, seldom want to talk about the awkwardness and disruptions of walkers and wheel chairs and chunky but helpful walking canes. Yet these things are part of the blessing that is the arc of life for us human beings. We begin our Sacred Journey with our first baby and we end with our grandchildren at our feet wondering at the halo that surrounds us. It is a journey sure enough, where each generation passes that silver halo to the next, and the next, in their turn.
This month we begin the time of Lent. This season of the church takes us through story of the last weeks of Jesus’s life. This is a time when we are invited to reflect on the direction of our lives. We are invited to empty ourselves of our own wants and desires and open ourselves to the love of God. As we walk toward Holy Week and await Easter, we are on a Sacred Journey in the way of Christ.
Blessings, Pastor Richenda