Thursday, November 14, 2013

If you died tomorrow, who would show up?


I come back to the church after Annie Rawlings’ memorial service. With a lot on my mind and heart. The James Chapel at Union was filled to overflowing. The service included religious leaders from Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim and Sikh traditions. And more than a little Bruce Springsteen. Her long time labor religion organizer father Chuck. Family and friends. And more than a little Bruce. (Worth saying twice) That was Annie. As I’ve said before, she was our friend. In the long landmarks struggle, she showed that more important than paid lobbyists, $800 an hour attorneys, all that those who knew better thought best, old school relational community organizing gets the job done. Let me never again in my life doubt my gut and listen to those who know better….they never do. Annie had an amazing capacity to be totally present. To anyone she was talking to. And was completely herself, completely authentic. She was a friend. And I will miss her.

Looking around the reception, I wonder at all the circles, all the lives she touched. And at some point the question comes up, if I died tomorrow, who would show up? It’s worth thinking about.

Later I will return to the church having lived through one of the most bizarre episodes I have lived through in 37 years of ministry. Completely taken aback. Completely in shock. And for a few moments am reminded that at any moment, chaos can break in and everything be at risk the abyss looming. Things fall apart….But it is a reminder that I can leave nothing to chance as we head in to next Tuesday’s Presbytery meeting. It is all on the line. Shouldn’t be that way, but it is.

Good to spend a few minutes in RL’s safe space.

In my office, writing. Marc comes in, sees I’m on the phone, leaves. I’m hearing a sound like an organ. The Hammond? No, clearly not. And a voice singing. Sounds medieval. Baroque? Marc? Clearly not again. So I walk into the sanctuary. A young man has a fold up pump organ. Like for camp meetings. Or military campaigns. He’s a new addition to the Bread and Puppet brigade. Peter wants to try his music to end the show. His ever evolving Shattered world. I was told at the Queens museum opening that long time friends wait until the last week to see where a show has landed.

I go back into the office to finish up. The ethereal sounds continue to fill the sanctuary.

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