There have been several events this past week that has reminded me just how messy life can be, especially when it comes to the church. Death, sickness, outright conflict, and family secrets all mixed together in a recipe designed to poison even the most healthy of congregations. The political rhetoric we have been subjected to in the past few months doesn’t help but only seems to exacerbate the distrust and anger. I look out on the congregation and I see people all seeking answers to the unanswerable. Looking into their eyes I can almost feel their plight, their need to be whole and to not fear any longer. What is the legacy that I will leave this parish with when I finally leave? I am just human, filled with my own doubts, fears and fallibilities. Anyone who is in any position of leadership, whether it is in the family, at work, or the church, leaves their own mark on the system. Hopefully we leave a good taste, but for some it will be more like good riddance, yet in spite of our differences I do believe that the Holy Spirit is in all of the messiness. We humans, and I do place myself in that category, can only see so far, we are a bit myopic like that. Even with having infinite resources available to us on our smart phones we are still bound by the rules of space and time, infinite resources does not correlate to infinite knowledge. So much of what one reads and sees on the Internet, Facebook or Twitter has been somewhat modified to favor one opinion over that of another. Of course we probably shouldn’t be surprised, most political data is skewed to show the world that one side is better than the other and vice versa.
I have to say that even in the hallowed halls of the Church, we do the same as we seek to bring our version of the Good News to light. Yet, it is in those various versions that if we are willing to listen and do so with open hearts and minds, we can hear that still small voice. After all we have four Gospels that each take a differing look at Jesus giving us a mirror in which our true reflection is shown in how we live, work and engage with others. Tossing out one over another without fully engaging in deep reflection and conversation demeans our lives as people made in the image of God.
This piece however is about legacy, what I will leave behind when my time is through and I’m called to move on. On paper and in records my name will appear, letters written, sermons given, stories told will all recount my ministry. Like the Gospels, there will be differing versions but in each version there lies a kernel of truth. Maybe, in the end that is all that we can leave as our legacy, the stories of our lives. Those bits and pieces that are woven together with other bits and pieces that eventually becomes part of the fabric of human life, a blanket that not only covers us but one which we help to create. Each one of us contribute to the weaving and while some of the stitching leaves a lot to be desired when it is all sown together that cloth becomes our security blanket, as it holds together our corporate lives and experience. So, maybe that is truly my legacy, to leave behind that imperfect weaving of myself in the hopes that it will be worked on and strengthened by those who follow.