Monday, June 29, 2015

Family and Grace

Geneseo Methodist Church, Buckingham, IA
This last weekend brought us up to central Iowa for a family reunion - my mother's side of the family.  My brother Tony brought us together - he'd gotten tired of only seeing this group when they were sad, at funerals.  It was a marvelous idea; a good time was had by all.

We spent the night nearby, then came back the next morning for church.  (My sister-in-love, Christie, is the pastor there.)

It was a good service - the praise band was joyful, I was enjoying watching Tony and Maggie, his daughter, sing. When it came time for prayers and concerns, one woman sent prayers to a group of breast cancer survivors she'd recently seen at a run - she was impressed by their numbers and their courage. I added my own prayer - I am looking forward to the day when Kate will be well enough to run in her own pink shirt.

Christie explained a little of the background to the congregation, we all prayed, and the service moved on.

The next song was about God with us and making it through the hard times with God's help.  Maggie started it, her eyes swimming with tears.  Then Tony broke down - as true pros, he and Maggie took turns with the parts where they couldn't sing, the parts where the words spoke too deeply, creating a beautiful back-and-forth duet. My tears overflowed; Rita and Joe, next to me, also had silent tears running down their faces.  Kate had been there at the reunion, rockin' her bald head, and right then, we all faced the reality that while she's almost very positively without doubt going to be just fine, there's this slight possibility.  and that possibility cannot be faced without tears from those who love her.

Fortunately for us, the prayers and concerns part came near the end of the service. We all came together on the altar and had a great big soggy group hug. Someone found tissues. Facing our fears and tears together, sending our prayers and love to Kate, sharing a moment immersed in God's healing Grace. I won't try to speak for the others, but when my tears ran out, Grace remained.

God Is.  Grace Is.  Healing Is.

(Christie later commented that God's Spirit must be partial to the Kimberly-Clark corporation - tears so often accompany the Spirit's presence.  True, that...)

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