Noticings – January 11, 2023


January 11, 2023

The realization dawned on me last Thursday just before noon. Something felt different. Not different bad; different good. It was as if something unfamiliar had become familiar again. Faith United was preparing for the funeral of a long-time member. On the main floor, the Sanctuary was being straightened up, the Atrium was being prepared, and beverages for the reception were being organized in the Sun Room. Upstairs, more busy folks were brewing coffee and tea and doing reception prep. In the basement, the Choir was gathering together and reviewing the music for the service, while a soloist and flautist rehearsed. Everywhere I went in the church I felt the same thing. That’s when it dawned on me.

What dawned on me was how much I had missed that beautiful sense of beloved community that coalesces as so many church members lovingly do their parts to create the sacred space for a mourning family to feel embraced and supported. I could feel the warmth emanating from all our church folk as they were doing their thing, and the one word that I think encapsulates what I sensed in everyone was the word, ‘finally’!

People have been waiting so long to be able to express their loving-kindness in this way. We don’t look forward to funerals, of course, but the way the whole church pulls together at such times is among the most beautiful expressions of God’s love that churches do. It’s been nearly three years since everyone felt like it was ok to gather and work together like that. I didn’t realize how much I had missed that togetherness, that shared-purpose, that koinonia, until I felt it all around me that day. Oh, how I noticed!

I also noticed it when we decorated (and undecorated) the church for Christmas, but that was somewhat less tender as compared to a funeral gathering, but it was there. I hesitate to say that things are back to normal. There are still far too many unknowns and we cannot take undue risks with people’s health. But it sure felt pretty wonderfully ‘normal’ this last week, in the most beautiful, loving way. Echoes of Genesis 1 were resounding: God saw everything that (transpired), and indeed, it was very good.

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Rev. Larry