Monday, November 7, 2011

In Seeking You We Find You (when the liturgy finds me)

It's been a few weeks since I've been to church - a few long, turbulent weeks. I rocked a baby to sleep by pacing the small two foot circle in a hotel room. I cried and cried about my inability to do it all. I was mesmerized by a Silke Otto-Knapp's Figure (Diagonal) painting lurking in the Institute of Contemporary Art. But these muddled weeks I have not been in church. I stayed away, too tired, or too upset, or too emotional, or too... in need of time to myself.

My conversation with God has been pretty quiet lately. 

On my runs through the woods I kept asking, "Lord, where are You?" As if I wasn't the one who was hiding. As if I had been the one waiting patiently to hear His footsteps coming around the corner. Sometimes, this is true, that we wait and wait, our calls echoing down empty hallways, and we wonder, "Where are You, Lord?" But sometimes we are the ones who are hiding. Sometimes we are the ones with our hands over our eyes, unwilling to accept the answers He's giving, unwilling to trust that there are answers and conversations and that, after all, He hasn't gone anywhere. Sometimes on those runs when I asked, "Lord, where are You?" I was the one playing hide-and-seek, hiding in a dark corner of my heart, hands over my eyes, repeating, "If I can't see you, then You can't see me."

I sat sullen, arms crossed, insisting that the liturgy is just one more thing that I have to do, cross off my list, that He won't really be here. It's been a pattern, you know, an undulation of hope and doubt, of questions and their answers, of sprinting towards Him and away. Maybe all of life is this kind of ebb and flow, harvest and drought, forest and desert.

The priest's voice suddenly booms out and startles me awake. We are using Eucharistic Prayer D, and the words are familiar and strange, unusual for a morning outside of Advent or Lent...

We acclaim you, holy Lord, glorious in power. Your mighty
works reveal your wisdom and love. You formed us in your
own image, giving the whole world into our care, so that, in
obedience to you, our Creator, we might rule and serve all
your creatures. When our disobedience took us far from you,
you did not abandon us to the power of death. In your mercy
you came to our help, so that in seeking you we might find
you. Again and again you called us into covenant with you,
and through the prophets you taught us to hope for salvation.

My head spins - these words I dismissed, these words I said were empty? They tell the story better than anything I write here. When our disobedience took us far from you, you did not abandon us to the power of death. In your mercy you came to our help, so that in seeking you we might find you. 

So that in seeking You I might find You. In a rush I remember how these words carry us when we don't know what to say anymore. These words take our hands away from our eyes and point us back to Him. These words are full of His life. 

Father, you loved the world so much that in the fullness of
time you sent your only Son to be our Savior. Incarnate by
the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, he lived as one of
us, yet without sin. To the poor he proclaimed the good news
of salvation; to prisoners, freedom; to the sorrowful, joy. To
fulfill your purpose he gave himself up to death; and, rising
from the grave, destroyed death, and made the whole
creation new.

My heart melts with the reminder that He hears every thought, every dismissive, hurtful, angry thought I throw up at Him. And even though I'm trying to run for the hills, avoiding Him, hiding behind every rock and tree, still... 

He comes looking for me.


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