In a book by Rowan Williams, published in 2002, are these words of Epilogue.
Lastly, another picture from the Gospel of John evoked for me by all of this, from the stray story of Jesus and the woman taken in adultery which is preserved rather improbably, in John 8. When the accusation is made, Jesus at first makes no reply, but writes with his finger on the ground. What on earth is he doing? Commentators have had plenty of suggestions, but there is one meaning that seems obvious to me in light of what I think we learned this morning. He hesitates. He does not draw a line, fix an interpretation, tell the woman who she is and what her fate should be. He allows a moment, a longish moment, in which people are given time to see themselves differently precisely because he refuses to make the sense they want. When he lifts his head, there is both judgement and release.
So this is writing in the dust because it tries to hold that moment for a little longer, long enough for our demons to walk away.
When Jennifer and Mark were very young and very small, I used to love to go with them to the Toledo Museum of Art. Mostly when we went I was tenacious in serving as their docent. I would guide them through the rooms of the museum. What we saw was determined by my interest. How long we stayed was determined by my pace. One day, for reasons I no longer remember, I decided, after getting by the woman or man selling tickets, to follow Jennifer and Mark through the museum. Imagine that. Experiencing these familiar rooms from their route, pace and interest was transforming. Our visit that day had none of the energies of my need to corral them into my way of seeing. It was spontaneous. It was infused with curiosity. It was vibrant. It was beautiful. It was gracious. They were the docents.
Ahh, the gifts “of both judgement and release.”
Aging with vibrancy, beauty, and grace . . . ?
Surely that means we can’t always be the docent.
It is my hope I will allow these months away to be a period in my life when I am washed in the waters of seeing differently because I “refuse to make the sense I want.” May there be longish moments when I see differently. May my eyes, ears, heart be opened to more than I already know/believe/hope.
Ireland is bathed in rich, deep antiquity.
Among the oases of our journey will be the National Museum in Ireland.We’ll be in this circle, perhaps as soon as a week from today. I look forward to wandering in the archeology section of the museum and sipping from the cup of wisdom encountered there through images, wonderments and ideas about people who lived in what we now know of as Ireland 6000 years before Christ.
I know I am troubled by the violence of our culture. I know I am troubled by the judgmental antagonism of our politics. I know I am troubled by religion when it excludes with an arrogance that can only be human. I know I am troubled by tenacious denial of our carbon footprint. I know I am troubled by the sadness of relationships that are lifeless. I know I am troubled by anger that simmers within (and sometimes erupts) over these and other matters. I know I am troubled by brokenness born of greed or resentment or prejudice or sloth or . . .
Most Sunday mornings at St. Andrew, I pray with the liturgist at the communion table: “May we get out of the way of the Spirit of GodLove in this sanctuary today.”
As I “stumble along among the immensities . . . you know the immensities between birth and death” within the stories of people who lived long ago, I hope to get out of the way of the Spirit of GodLove.
It seems likely, the aquifers of GodLove Patricia and I will encounter will be more like a dance in the rain than clunky pondering about the troubles of 2012.
We are a dwelling place