Monday, 13 August 2007

Sometimes You Got to Go Where No One Knows Your Name

It strikes me today that sometimes you just have to go somewhere where no one knows your name.

This weekend at ordination training I spoke of my feeling of being churched out. I was encouraged to hear it was a common experience. Time pressures and the change of role meant nothing is the same as before. I realise there are different expectations on me now; I no longer fit into my community the same way as an ordinand, although how I fit in has yet to be defined. My behaviour is a little more scrutinised and I realise that what my church community has been, will never be again. I guess we are all looking at each other in a different light.

On Sunday I ended up at my husbands Church, I go to an Anglo Catholic Anglican Church, he to a 3rd Wave Vineyard Church. One of the things I notice when I go to different Churches is that I look for the people on the edge, to see how people who don’t fit with the norm are embraced by that Church. (And yes I do wonder about my own agenda of looking at this when I too have been feeling on the edge).

Anyway I was struck yesterday by a man I have often seen on the streets of the city, an older man who looks a little different, raggedy clothes, walks with a limp, whose hands are crippled, who has that air of someone so profoundly wounded that to look too deeply into his eyes would make you weep. To see him in the context of the Church though was a delight, here he was beaming, being greeted with genuine love by those around him, standing tall and fully immersed and involved in what was happening. His is a story of utter joy and abject sorrow. Institutionalised within the medical system at an early age he was so badly beaten there that he was permanently disabled. Yet here he was a man who I am told that on their recent men’s camp, put young men to shame with his courage and enthusiasm, a man whose share presence lifts you. At that moment who the leaders of the Church were was turned on its ear for me. Here in this man I saw the last become first. Someone who emulated what it was to be broken and raised up at the same time. His very presence let other broken people (and lets face it that's all of us) know that they had a place there. By simply being himself he gave permission to others to step forward in weakness, and authenticity. 'If he can do this, and the sky doesn't fall then so can I".

And what do you know, to my surprise I too find myself compelled to step out of the known and go forward for prayer at the end of the service. Standing there in the this foreign place, I realise that there is a relief in not being 'the ordinand', in not being known, or indeed needing to find the words. When I am asked what I want prayer for I pause all I can say is that, "I just need a moment, somewhere where I may break".

1 comment:

Shawn said...

Beautifully put :)