Here is part of today's reading:
"Those who sowed with tears
will reap with songs of joy.
Those who go out weeping, carrying the seed,
will come again with joy, shouldering their sheaves."
Today was our first home church service without Philip.
How can something be so beautiful and so painful all at the same time? Just seeing 14 of us sitting down to prepare for worship instead of 15 made me weep. We shared the scripture readings. We prayed our prayers. We sang the doxology, gave our offerings. walked through the different passages, sharing insights. We shared the Kenyan liturgy, which Philip had just recently introduced to us the Sunday before he died. We shared the bread and wine, blessed the babies and rejoiced in the resurrection. We discussed that right now is the sad season for us.
We miss Philip. It hurts. Greatly. I cry even now as I type. Even so, it was beautiful to explain to the children how grateful I am for our Anglican heritage, that many many many years ago someone ordered the scriptures to be divided up into daily and weekly readings. Someone whom we would never meet. But the hand that guides us daily directed that person or those people to place Psalm 126 in the proper order so we would read it today, knowing that we will be sowing our seeds very soon. With tears.
We take comfort in knowing that this season of mourning will not last forever.
We read in Isaiah 43 that God will make a way in the wilderness for us. He will do a new thing.
Then Josh and Jason put the trim back on the door frame that had been removed yesterday and Maggie made an apple crisp with delicious Ikenberry apples and Laura and Rachel washed and grated potatoes so we could make hashbrowns and omelets. We crowded around the noisy table and ate and the grownups drank the very last bit of Jason's homemade '08 cabernet franc, lifting our cups, thanking God for the body of Christ that surrounds us, good times and bad. Laura and Rachel allowed me express some of my grief in a very raw flavor. They didn't even judge me. They just let me hug them and cry. I expressed to them how hard it is having to be so needy, worried that people are going to get tired of helping us out. How hard it is to receive so much, how it is much nicer to be on the giving end, how it is hard for us to feel so many emotions and not know what to do with them (as we break up another sibling squabble.)
I guess what I am saying, as I throw my thoughts out there for the world to see, this is a hard season for us, but thanks to having true community around us, loving on us and holding us up, I have this faint, but calm assurance that eventually we will bring in the harvest with joy, with these same folks who mourn and cry with us now.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
Praise him all creatures here below.
Praise him above, ye heavenly hosts.
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.