Monday, February 11, 2008

Two Sermons

There has to be a first next post, after that last one. It could be a cute picture of my children, it could be an update on Sarahlynn: Operation Get Your Shit Together, or it could be something serious. But there has to be a first one, and it's going to be now, so I'll recap the sermons from church this morning.

Our minister is a very emotional guy, and he has mastered the art of being able to talk coherently while crying, a trick I'll never learn. He didn't cry this morning during his sermon, until his voice broke a little on the last word. Throughout the sermon, his voice was rough, his tone angry.

"I am not ready to stand up here and give a message of hope, of reassurance; that message will have to wait for another day."

He spoke passionately against the use of the word "war" as a few in the Meacham Park community have used it, "a seeming defense of an indefensible act." He spoke of misunderstanding and reconciliation, of thoroughly cleaning our wounds before allowing them to heal over.

It was a good message, if not the one I expected to hear today. It made me feel uncomfortable at times, and left me feeling ruffled.

Then came Communion, a wonderful experience on a traumatic weekend with a packed church, sitting quietly in the beautiful sanctuary, listening to the organ, watching hundreds of my fellow Presbyterians proceeding up the aisle to receive their grape-juice-dipped wafers, waiting my turn in peace.

Our associate pastor is a friend of mine, and she has one of the most soothing voices I've ever heard. Her communion prayer was quite long, almost a second homily, and I savored every moment of it. I no longer remember what she said, though I remember nodding along at the time. Afterwards, I was immediately left with a feeling of safety, of home. This prayer felt a little like a mother patting her fearful child on the back, murmuring words whose tone is more important than their substance, though the substance is there, for those ready to absorb it. For the rest of us, we could sit quietly, listen, and feel like there was someone taking care of us.



Jessica said...

What a beautiful recap. I wish I could have experienced that myself....would have been a welcomed security.

Tracey said...

I saw some footage on the news of your service, so much more moving than ours the same day. Our church home is in Creve Couer, not the same feeling, though we did touch on the tragedy. I wanted more. I wanted more comfort, I wanted more reassurance, I wanted more hope. My heart still aches.

Anonymous said...

Preaching after a tragedy is so hard. It sounds like they all did well. You're in my prayers.

Sarahlynn said...

Thank you, Jessica, and, of course, you're welcome anytime!

Tracey, I'm sorry to hear that your church service felt a bit more removed, being a few miles away. Did you go to the prayer vigil? It looked amazing, from the clips I saw on the news.

I too want more reassurance and hope; I am still so very, painfully angry.

Peripatetic Polar Bear, they did, amazingly well. And to have a lectionary sermon prepared, then ditch that in favor of a whole new Sunday sermon, plus a funeral and two prayer services all in one 3 day period . . . wow.

It's easy to forget that our pastors are members of the community, effected just like the rest of us by tragic events. Somehow, they're expected to cope while offering comfort to everyone else, as though they have a magical ability to be of it, while above it.