Monday, July 06, 2015
As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly, saying, ‘Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.’ So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight.
I visited old friends recently. They spoke to me from their rest as heavy stones rested over them: My father, Lavern; Bob, my old friend who became the grandfather I could have never expected after my grandfathers died. He stays with me five decades later.
I walked, too, around the old church on the west side of Warren, IL. The stones spoke to me. I saw all those who had worshiped inside these weather-worn limestone blocks, set in place four years before the civil war split the nation.
Dozens of faces came to mind, but I spoke only to four or five to whom I owe greatest thanks. Tears became my prayer as I talked to the stone, to church walls and tombstones.
I told them what I have been doing, what is in my heart, and the startling blessings and pains which have been the broken road that led me to where and who I am. I spoke the deep unfulfilled longing that, in one way or another, each of them awakened in me.
But the broken road has not come to an end. Who knows what is yet to be?
I know only this: Every fulfillment spurs longing for more life and love, more joy and surprises, even for more tears for the people and places I love and which have loved me. We are meant for this More, and our hearts are restless until … well, until they know the Love for which you made us, Holy One.
The typical human rush toward the future allows little space for such knowing. Only later, as we talk to church walls and cemetery stones through tears of gratitude and loss do we begin to know the great mystery of which we are a part.
We are because the One who is Life is … and breathes life into us. And as long as we breathe, we long for that completion of love, that holy communion we taste in moments when the heart is full … and as we walk through stones of the past which isn’t past at all, for it all lives in us and in the Mystery who is ever present.
Nothing is lost. Ever.
Stay with us, Holy One; open our eyes to see.
Pr. David L. Miller