Going Home…can those ruins be restored?
WHAT MEANS THESE STONES:
Land of my fathers,
how i long to return,
What means these stoneswhich beset thy coastline, who in twisted agony cry out, in praise and supplication of Him and the renewal of the faith that bled to secure them here. Yet we would walk again thy sacred paths, repair thy ancient ruins restore the broken altars, raise up the foundations of many generations.
Part of me knows that some of my feelings are caused by bereavement, or loss. Yet passages like this one from my devotions this morning resonate with something inside me. A dozen or so years ago, when we went home, I was grieved to see the church of my youth closed, Last year, after my father passed away, I stood across the street from it on a Sunday afternoon. It is now some kind of academy…..no longer a place where God’s word is preached, where people are baptized, where people receive the body and blood of Christ.
where spirituality, once vibrant, is now cloaked in mediocrity, the neighborhood poor and seemingly without hope.
It’s not that one church, there are many that are but shadows of what they were, as there are many where I now live. I’ve seen some rebuilt, an incredible blessing of peace where there was discord and misery, and a romantic tie to the past. I know those ties, even as I know they aren’t entire…accurate.
Yes the churches weren’t closed, yes, they all had multiple services, multiple masses. But what was important was that there is where we first walked sacred paths. Not sacred because of the stones, but sacred because of the company that we walked in, for there we first walked with God.
The idea of seeing St Francis’ or St Anne’s or the other fellowships I know of restored is indeed romantic, and sometimes – seems to burn a hole within me, especially those “back home.” But those ruins are restored every time I baptize someone here. They are rebuilt every time someone kneels at the altar, and is given the Body of Christ, and the Blood shed for them. They are rebuilt when I am working with those I have been entrusted to mentor, even as I was mentored by Fr Alex, and Fr. Janounis, and Pastor Chip.
Rebuild the ruins back in Massachusetts and New Hampshire? I would take up such a task, were it offered. Yet what I need to realize is that task isn’t just in that locality, in the land of my dad and grandfathers, and the Parkers and DeLucas. It is done here, in this place. The land to where we’ve been called. In a land where the church also needs to be restored. .
Can ruins be restored? Yes. Let’s get to work then, guided and empowered and placed by God.
Lord, have mercy on us…