Monk In The World

To be a monk is to have time to practice for your transformation and healing. And after that to help with the transformation and healing of other people.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sitting Alone

My wife and I spent the weekend in Atlanta. My daughter is expecting our third grandchild and she is due any day now, so we thought we would go up and see if we could be there when it happens. Well, as of right now, it didn't. Her due date is Sunday, according to the "professionals". My wife stayed to give a helping hand and offer her "grandmother mind" to the other child, our oldest grandchild Caroline, whose life will change shortly in a significant way.

As is our habit lately, when we go to visit our children, (both son and daughter live in Atlanta), we try to go to church with the ones we are staying with. This weekend my son's wife and daughter were out of town so he stayed overnight at my daughter's house and we all went to my daughter and son-in-law's church this morning.

It's a very progressive United Methodist church. I'm guessing the average age in that church might be 35 years old. It's the same way at my son's church. There is a generation of young Christians who are trying to reform the church in a new way, it seems to me. And I mean in a good way. They seem to focus on relationships, authenticity, justice, inclusivity and many other "right" things to be if you are going to be the church.

It feels like a de-institutionalizing while remaining an institution.
It's different. It's refreshing. And I'm sure it's not perfect and has and will have it's own problems as it continues to morph into whatever it is this generations is trying to birth.

The point of all this is to share my experience of sitting down while all the others were standing.
I commented to my son and daughter that the last time I went to his church it seemed they stood up for about twenty minutes in the beginning of the service before they ever sat down, indicative of the majority of the age group there. Us "elder" types needed to sit. 

So this morning I decided to take hold of my authority as an "elder" and sit when I felt the need to.
So there I was sitting, and standing right next to me were my son and my pregnant daughter, both looking towards the altar, both singing a hymn together, not knowing their father was sitting there in tears, gratitude running down my cheeks. Here they both were, searching for their truth, worshiping their God...Both "A people of the way", setting aside a sacred time to do one of the most important things that matters to their father - practicing their spirituality.
I was overwhelmed with gratitude that I had two children and a Son-in-law and a daughter-in-law who saw the value of following a spiritual path.

I don't know what part I have played in this. That is not important. If anything I hope I have taught them the value of questioning, of having their own faith, not mine and the value of love and relationships and most importantly, family.

What is God? Who Is God? How is God in our lives?

Who knows?

I do know I sat alone in church today and cried.

For all the right reasons.

Thanks be to God!


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