Monday, August 24, 2009

The aftermath

I was expecting elation.

I've spent a decade working and praying in many and various ways for the votes that came on Friday. And I'm grateful and inspired by the (mostly) civilized dialogue that the ELCA managed to conduct around one of our National Hot Button Issues last week. I'm hugely relieved, on a personal level. And, as one member of my own congregation said yesterday, I'm glad for the sense that "Christ is leading us, and it's up to us to figure out how to follow."

But elation isn't the word for where I really am. I'm grateful that dear friend B (and SO many others--maybe even me, someday) can now be ordained. I'm grateful for the witness of the Lutheran church to those outside it. I'm grateful for the many kind, supportive words and hugs that have come my way this weekend...and over the long haul.

I'm sad, too. I'm sad that some people feel that they've lost their church. It seems unnecessary to me, after hanging in there all this time, that one decision could cause someone to feel like an outsider, when what I was really hoping for was the possibility of growth in relation to those who see the "issue" differently.

It's not elation. It is, as retired Bishop Chilstrom commented on Friday night, "bittersweet." And it's clear to me that we're going to need to work harder than ever for a while, to nurture conversation wherever we can and to turn that legislated welcome into reality.

Meanwhile, leadership is going to continue and to emerge anew...like this sermon, which I like very much. Deo gratias.

4 comments:

Hot Cup Lutheran said...

it is a very quiet day. perhaps not so much if i were at the phones in the synod office... but where i am, it is quiet, exceedingly so. i wonder if the quiet is folks trying to hear the spirit blow through us or if the quiet is denial... or anxiety brewing...

Mompriest said...

I too thought it might be time for growth instead of a sense of losing....but, in my experience, that has rarely happened...sigh...

Songbird said...

It's a sign of maturity to feel another's pain rather than to revel in victory, but, Oh, it's hard!

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

It's hard to realize that achieving a much-long-for victory doesn't always make everything better. Bittersweet seems like the perfect word. Let yourself have a little respite of enjoying this before taking up the work of nurturing again.