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.