These last weeks have been hard, deep, full of prayerful heart murmurings, gutsy right action and a bucket load of grace, oh and tears, a whole bunch of tears. I want to tell you one portion of these past few weeks.
A huge starting point was that my grandma passed away, back in the UK, we called her Nannie, she was 95. She passed on the morning of a day which couldn't have been more full if it had tried. I spoke to my dad at 6 am and he shared the news. We both wept. By 7 am I was on the road to sing at a church called Eden about half an hour away. By 11.30 am I was on route to my home church, Genesis, who were saying goodbye to a member of staff and mourning that loss. By 12.30 pm someone asked me what I needed and I said company and some food. We ate. By 3.15 pm I was at a rehearsal for the second church of the day that I would be singing at called The Table. In this community they were mourning the sudden loss of a prominent man in their community who died in an accident only four days before.
It was a day like no other I had lived before and as I stood on the stage at The Table with a community grieving, while carrying the grief in my own heart for my Nannie I sang with a conviction, clarity, strength and presence that I hadn't experienced in a while. It was a holy day. It was set apart in a way that left me held in a mystery. I was exhausted and felt like a feather in a whirlwind by the end of it. Needless to say my body was wrecked the day after. Whatever I felt the need to carry was lingering now that the things and moments weren't directly all around.
For someone who has studied scripture with a Rabbi for over 10 years I have learnt to look at the names of things and what those names mean, like the names of churches in this story, for as you know the name I believe you also get a glimpse of eternity in time. It also works in the context of what we name things ourselves and it's very important in both looking at the text and our own experience as humans. As I have processed this day I therefore took a moment to really think about the three church locations I ended up in.
First, Eden, this is from the Hebrew word that means delight, the garden of delight that God breathed into existence with His Words, His mouth.
Second, Genesis, well, this is the Hebrew word Bereshit and it means "In the Beginning" or "In A beginning", meaning that there are beginnings in our own stories that start just like the biblical text. For example, ever had a moment where there is an experience of light and creation in the midst of chaos and slowly things are separated out and formed etc. That's the kind of beginning I am talking about, and of course, Genesis as a whole is about the human process of alone, to together, to brother, to family. The whole book is one beginning after another.
Thirdly, The Table. I had never looked up the Hebrew word for table but it was truly fascinating. Along with having the meaning of a place to come and be nourished both physically and spiritually, it actually comes from the root Hebrew word "to send out". This resonated so much in my belly. That the table is also the place of sending out for purpose, to go into the world and be the light. It all just came full circle.
This was a day where I felt so alive, my friend and Pastor suggested that this feeling was likely because of just how much I had to rely on God, that I remember the freedom and life and presence because there was very little choice to do anything else. I had to lean in and lean in hard and well, this day felt like this return to the source and foundations of my faith. To the life of faith that I get to walk with the eyes I have been given to see.
As I think about the places I inhabited on this day I am so thankful for the stepping stones of grace that God lead me upon to understand a little more of His character and how much He was with me. That God isn't one who hides things because He is withholding but rather hides himself in the midst of the story in such a way that encourages you as you live faith in a tangible way. That the trajectory of even a day can speak the story of His essence; Delight, Beginnings, Nourished and Sent out for purpose.
May we learn to choose to look into the midst of the story and simply walk with open hands and an open heart further into the beautiful mystery of it all. May we have ears to hear and eyes to see.May we know that we are seen and loved.