About a year and half before his death Wayne was no longer physically able to attend church. I made the decision to spend Sundays at home with him. I would be lying if I did not acknowledge that there was something seductive about getting up at a leisurely pace, making him pancakes (with our private label maple syrup) and relaxing over coffee and the Sunday paper. Obviously, the pancakes were just for Wayne, I would never eat pancakes. Frequently around noon someone would drop by- often the Lutman’s, with flowers from the altar and conversation to remind us that we still were part of Federated. It mattered.
It was not until I returned to regular Sunday worship after Wayne’s death that I realized a number of things. Do you recall what it is like to have been working in the yard on a hot Summer day and you know that you are thirsty, but you don’t really realize how thirsty until you take that first swig of an ice cold be……, I mean ice cold lemonade. That was what it was like for me coming back to church. While I had been away Federated had moved forward. For one thing, there were angels flitting all over the place, giving rides, preparing meals, and of course, delivering flowers. I didn’t know how thirsty I had become for this community, for Hamilton’s sermons that take a biblical passage, turn it upside down and shake out a new meaning that makes me squirm, or the book groups that allow us to chew on our issues of faith and policy, the calls for us to leave our comfort zone and risk new journeys. I had missed the vibrant life of this place, the open caring that welcomed me back, the call to reach into my own core and improve it. I stand here to assert that coming to services and being involved does matter.
I know I am preaching to the choir. You are all here. But because you are here you may fail appreciate how critical it is in nurturing your core, the necessity of this community if one is to expand ones humanity and deepen ones faith. Our commitment is so much more than a monetary one (although as part of the stewardship committee I must affirm how much that matters) but it is more than money and even more than being involved in ‘the work of the church’, it is a commitment to ourselves to grow toward being the best we can be and to be certain that what has fed and challenged us will be there for those who come after us.
I do not regret my choice to stay home on Sunday. I would do it again, but it feels wonderful to be back. As I was writing this I recalled one of Peter, Paul and Mary’s songs that seemed appropriate. Here is just a small part of it:
”Don’t let the light go out
It’s lasted for so many years
Don’t let the light go out
Let it shine through our love and our tears.
I believe I know what keeps the light shining. It needs all of us.
Let us be in a spirit of prayer
Ground of all being, enter our hearts today that we may go forth renewed
To serve where we are able
To bring comfort where there is pain
To bring light where there is darkness
To bring peace where there is conflict
To bring hope where there is despair
To bring wisdom where there is ignorance
To bring quiet where there is clamor