Sunday, June 2, 2013

The unsettling start of goodbyes

Raclette - 2 grills and bowls of food!
I've spent the weekend on retreat with ministry peers. I didn't turn on my phone until I was on the way home. I have someone else's pictures.

We rested, listened for God's voice, and shared our dreams and hopes in ministry, as well as challenges.

We started the weekend with Friday supper: Raclette (photo). It's a Swiss invention, where food is grilled at the table; under the grill little dishes hold cheese melting over potatoes. We took our time meeting each other, getting settled, and relaxing.

Beth Backus maintains a home for an absentee owner. The setting is gorgeous, a modern house dropped into 7 acres of woodland and lawns. Beth has permission to use the house for ministry retreats. She dreams of drawing weary ministers away from their hectic lives for a time of refreshing.

Four of us on her ministry team helped lay out the weekend. Beth invited Karen Porter and Amy to our inaugural weekend. God met us during intentional hours in community. We also spent 3 hours of solitude without electronics! listening to God's voice.

Beth cooked breakfast crepes and her husband prepared a delicious Italian feast in the evening. Karen led in worship with her guitar. We enjoyed Kim Martinez's soup for two lunches.

This morning we celebrated communion. Vicki Judd prepared unleavened bread dough. She showed us how to roll out (crush) the dough. Then we used a fork to outline (pierce) pictures on it.

After the hot bread came out of the oven, we sat down at the table. Each woman shared the symbols on her bread, tore off pieces to share, and then led us in the memorial: "This bread is my body, broken for you. This cup is my blood, shed for you." We ate and drank together each time, relishing the beauty of what we've learned about Christ's sacrifice.

I carpooled home with my friend Kim, then walked into a full house. My husband and our kids were near the entry, wrapping up their birthday party lunch with Waldemar. Two strangers were finishing a set-up in our former dining room: they'd moved our pool table from the basement. (The big round dining table now lives in the family room.)

The new pool room
I'm okay on the outside, but my heart hurts as my house is disassembled. W's finishing out the basement after we return from summer ministry. I'm glad that the kids want to keep our commercial pool table. Plus, we need the space downstairs for our bedroom/living area.

This last week God has made very clear that this is no longer our house. The kids will move in this fall. As we sort what we are selling, giving away, and keeping, the house is in chaos. W's moving things from the basement, his office, and the attic. After class each day, I come home to great progress ... and piles and boxes in the entry and living areas.

I'm a visual person who lives and breathes in spaces. I'm excited to design and furnish the new space. It will be basic and utilitarian, a stopping place for less than a year and later for short furloughs. We don't have money to waste on fancy finishes. However, the process exhausts me, as beloved pieces drift from where they have lived out the door, into other homes. The stuff we're keeping is stuck amid the disorder until the basement is done.

The summer house-sitter comes Friday, when we leave for mission training and our summer assignment in Singapore. I'll leave the craziness behind with relief. For now, each time I walk through the house my heart feels unsettled, mourning the start of goodbyes. This is only the beginning of downsizing and moving away.

I know all the theology. "Life is temporary; this world is not our home."  As I talk to Jesus, I'm asking for a heart that matches what my head knows.

He's the center of everything, and when the cloud or the fire of his Presense moves, we are happiest when we follow. That doesn't mean it's easy.

Read more:
*The heavens will vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment, and those who live on it will die like gnats; but my salvation will be forever. Isaiah 51:6 NLT

*His greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. Micah 5:4 NIV

*Every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:11 NLT

*John wrote: And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.” Revelation 21:3 (NIV)

Moravian Prayer: Lord of all, we recognize every day that Jesus Christ, your Son, is Lord of all. You are ever-present and ever-loving. We are forever grateful.

O God, our God, how grateful we are that you are here among us, dwelling with us, abiding with us, through triumph and turmoil. This world is temporary; our salvation is forever. Thanks be to God! Amen.

1 comment:

  1. Whenever events and people get crazy, it's so nice to retreat to your familiar home and sit in the couch and pick up the book that is where you left it, and go get a cup from the cupboard where you always keep it, and see the picture on the wall where you hung it.

    When the house is in turmoil for moving, it is confusing to not have that familiarity. "Wait! Can we rewind for a few minutes ... back to the way it was?"

    And it goes on! Bless you.