I am writing this on Monday evening. Such is the tyranny of bulletin production schedules. It has been a full day, a tiring day, but a good day. In the betwixt-and-between times after one late afternoon meeting and before a 7:00 pm conference call, I get to pause and think about the days gone by. What did I see and hear?
Sunday was a good day filled with this parish community I so much love. It is good to celebrate the Faith with people, to come together to belong, to be one community, and to worship. There is a continuity in the day as people ebb and flow from the church like a tide, sure and certain. It is as though the church draws its breath from the world as people gather with their joys and sorrows, their faith and doubts, and their hopes and fears. Then we talk, we share, listen, and come to the table where we are nourished and made ready. Made ready to be exhaled into the waiting world to carry with us the ruach, the very breath of God.
What awaits us in the world? Certainly, good and glorious things. But it seems to me that this last week has been particularly filled with images of a world not quite right. A world, as St. Paul writes, waiting for redemption. It is a world described by Pope Francis in his daily homilies, his encyclicals, and the people he embraces: it is a wonderful world even amidst its brokenness. In the days to come, Pope Francis will encounter presidents, members of Congress, leaders of State, dignitaries at the United Nations, Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops, priests, nuns, mayors, governors – and just all manner of important people. But to an unprecedented degree, this pope is making a point of spending time with people on the bottom rungs of American society: day laborers, refugees, the homeless, underprivileged schoolchildren, and prisoners. Like no pope before him, Francis is using the grand stage of his trip to the United States to demonstrate that the church exists to see the world as it is and take to it the very breath of God.
Jesus, the very Word of God, did not so much heal brokenness as much as participated in it. As the poet, Christian Wiman writes: “God goes belonging to every riven thing he’s made.” (Every Riven Thing, 2010) Some might see that as pessimistic to imagine a world of riven things. But to see it clearly is to see Hope. It is to see and know that God is with us – brokenness and all.
And that is a wonderfully hopeful thing.