Weeping for Joy: what’s still possible

There were two good people of genuine faith present at the 5pm Eucharist this afternoon. Our chapel only holds about a dozen worshippers. Often we have 6 to 8 on Saturday afternoon. Here at midsummer it’s a bit different.

After they had left I cleaned up and straightened things out. I was in the breezeway heading for the door when without warning something hit me. Tears flowed down my face. Sent there by sorrow. But it’s more complex than that.

What burst heart to mind in that moment was something like this, though it was beyond words:

God loves us so very much. So very personally. So absolutely uniquely. And we need so much, all of us, to know that we are loved.

How is it then that this place is not over-filled with people? How is it that there are not dozens, hundreds knocking on the doors when the church building is closed up? How can we not respond from the heart to that Heart?

Some will tell me that when they stop to listen for the voice of God, they hear nothing. Only perfect silence. And who, they ask, can afford to stop and wait before nothing and silence in an age when there is so much to do and such pressure to get it done?

Of course I know that nothing when I stop to listen for God. That sheer silence is the voice of the perfect One who is already listening for the beat of my heart, and yours.

Precisely in the silence is the Presence. The silence is the Presence.

But very few come. It seems few pause and just try to listen. So Love goes on loving into the void we allow our lives to appear to be. Even though our lives are so very much more.

And so, my tears.

But those tears made me happy. Those tears brought me joy. That genuine newborn emotion was just like that I felt so often as I began seminary decades ago, as I recognized and moved to answer the call. It was an echo of first fervor. And it is a thing of beauty.

To feel God so near. To desire so completely to find the words (are there such?) to share the joy of that nearness; to rejoice, to revel in it with sisters and brothers.

Today the power brought me tears. They were so real that their sorrow shines brighter than joy. I can see that church of ours – and all of them, all the houses of worship of all the faiths – filled with human faces, with human hearts looking for the depth that tells our story. They need be filled not because I’m there or you or anyone else, but because God is there, still burning in the bush that never burns away. And will not.

Clare of Assisi, born on this date in the year 1193, put it this way reflecting on the call she and her sisters received, which is in some way also yours and mine:

“There are some who do not pray nor make sacrifices; there are many who live solely for the idolatry of their senses. There should be compensation. There should be someone who prays and makes sacrifices for those who do not do so. If this spiritual balance is not established, earth would be destroyed by the evil one.”

Help keep the balance, loved ones. With tears. With laughter. With all the tools our humanity affords us.


Saint Clare

One thought on “Weeping for Joy: what’s still possible

  1. July 16 post. I am still there in the weeping sorrow. Wondering if we are worshiping in tombstones called chapel, church. Longing for Creation to swallow the world & birth us anew.

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