I'm not a great fan of thrillers. I'm too physically chicken to enjoy a series of narrow scrapes, even in print. As a mom, I spent years of devoted energy bringing little boy bodies into the world and watching them with eagle eyes through the mobile and brainless stages of development. Why would I enjoy seeing anyone risk life and limb? And clearly what many people do for fun (skiing, scuba diving, football) is evidence that the mobile and brainless stage can extend well into adulthood, especially in males.
It's all Bill's fault. Bill usually comes into The Word Shop on Wednesday mornings and parks til mid-afternoon. He rode the rails as a teen in the 30's, settled in Santa Cruz and worked in the canneries until he retired. He brings us things: garden tomatoes, a beautiful tapestry of the last supper, Halloween toys and a gum ball machine.
The Word Shop staff is an odd conglomeration of folk; each of us wounded and weird in our own way, yet committed to His way--His light fractured and shadowed on the planes of our personalities, yet light shining forth nonetheless--a city on the hill.
Our regulars are equally weird, most of them highly opinionated in one way or another; smudged light also, shining determinedly in their various locales, brightening our days by their presence and the resources they provide.
He was scarred by evil, before memory began, suffered great loss; yet was saved by sacrificial love. Raised where materialism and greed were the highest values, he received letter upon letter inviting him into fulfillment of his divine design. At last he walked through the invisible barrier and began the arduous task of learning and finding his way in a shifting world, where nothing is quite as it first seems. He received and honored friends despite their lack of looks, popularity or riches. He discovered one of his giftings while defending the weak.
Today begins the week of Prayer for Christian Unity. One faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all. A zillion denominations, ideas, opinions. Why can't everyone just get along?
Perhaps division is as important for bodily health as unity. Each finger, each toe, divided from the other grants a flexibility for pounding the keyboard that web feet don't have. (No, I don't type with my feet--just follow the quacky metaphor.) Love assumes connection despite differences, despite the great divide that appears when you look from finger tip to finger tip. Love struggles on.
The Word Shop is a gift from the Lord to his people, through his people. All the books, time, displays, plants, pictures, tapes, chairs, shelves, desks, lamps, coffee, are gifts; gifts to, gifts through. A living Valentine card, everyday. It gets quite muddled, between the recipients and the givers. People who buy the books are great givers into the store's life. Does the heart push oxygen to the lungs, or do the lungs bring it to the heart? Body Life; for love's sake.
The bottom line on the upper room is disciples waiting together to see what God will do. Between the Ascension and Pentecost, they waited in prayer and unity for the promise of the Father. I'm usually so exhausted after running the gauntlet of Holy Week and Easter, that the thought of doing anything churchy at that point is fairly repugnant. However, in this particular mid-March moment, having a prayer time at The Word Shop between Easter and Pentecost sounds like a fine idea. I'm thinking 9 -10 on Wednesday mornings, beginning April 3. Would anyone care to wait with me?
Leaving a church can feel like a divorce; a heart rending rip that remains sensitive years later; scar tissue toughness masking an inner vulnerability.
The old community divides into 'his' friends and 'her' friends; a few brave souls spanning the gap; grocery store encounters full of cheery chatter that rings tinnily over the echoes of things not said.
And through it all the nagging fear that the children suffer the most; basic certitude's shattered; years passing too quickly by--too many moments bereft of the particular graces of community.
The worst part of our 7 week prayer/study with Foster's STREAMS OF LIVING WATERS was sitting in my chair with my afternoon cup of coffee, utterly entranced with some turn of the pages and wishing that you were sharing this wonder with me.
June slipped away. July slipped away. I figured I better grab August by the neck before the whole concept of a monthly newsletter slips away. Fortunately, people have been writing me about books:
Katy (age 13) writes that she recommends A WALK TO REMEMBER by Nicholas Sparks. And she adds, "if any one thinks, 'Oh I have seen the movie I don't need to read the book,' you are wrong. The book is totally different."
Reminds me of a bumpersticker: "Don't judge a book by it's movie."
Since any given three people can rarely even agree on what happened last week, I tend to view books of history with deep cynicism. However, "Why I am a Catholic" by Garry Wills, is an interesting romp through two thousand years of Popes, Emperors, Kings, Bishops and the various councils of the church. A mess of political intrigue, power mongering, lies and repression...one wonders how the church managed to survive at all. Also author of "Papal Sins," Garry Wills's democratic streak runs throughout. In the end he affirms the basic tenets of the Apostles Creed--the faith of the Church.