This morning, we celebrate stories
with the lives of communities of faith through the years—
beloved and familiar stories
of welcome and joy,
of having gone and having returned,
of inclusion and feasting,
of a great love
and a marvelous grace.
And we celebrate lives bound together
in those stories made flesh—
in communities shaped in the image of such stories.
And so it is, that as a people of faith,
together as a greater truth than apart,
that grace is the richest of all surprises,
that love is stronger than goodbye.
And we remind each other,
because we need to remember
even amidst the most incredible joys of life—
amidst births and new loves
and loves grown rich and deep through the years,
amidst beauty and accomplishment,
amidst the wonder that can become its own end,
and then also through the pains of great separations—
the pains of relationships strained and broken,
the griefs of death and disease and time,
we need to remember,
and we might not—
through the estrangements and the silences,
the growing up and the growing apart,
the weight of difference and disagreement,
the sting of ego-seasoned vitriol
in rejection and abandonment,
as through the wondrous moments that bring chills,
the gentleness that eases the soul,
the integrity of peacefulness,
the times that feel they should last forever,
we remind each other
(our children and our parents,
our youth and our seniors)—
we remind each other (in remembrance)
of the ties that bind us together always
in the truth that is the love of God.
So we pray,
knit together even so.
We pray for each other
and for our interwoven world—
all the braided together lives,
the inseparable hopes and the conflicting priorities,
and the surprise of initiatives of grace
extended in the commitment
of those always being shaped in the image of God
into the ever unfolding story of God.
Ah, may it be so.