Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Here's to the Ties that Bind

Every January for the past 5 years or so, I've made a pilgrimage, together with my brother, Sky, to Manasota Key, Florida.  My old friend, Ed lives there.  We sail.  We might cuss a little.  We might have a beverage.  We talk about the problems of the Church and how we'd fix them.  We talk about our lives and what we need to do to find peace.  We live in the transcendent place of a friendship that spans decades (like over 40 years), and of a trust in each other that is unmistakably a means of grace.

Of all the things Ed has been for me over the years:  someone whose craft I admired if not envied;  someone who came into my life every few years seemingly interested in who I was and who I was becoming; someone who after a time sought my counsel and earnestly wanted to know what I thought - the greatest gift Ed has given me in recent years is simply this - Sanctuary.

I love this man.  He's my friend.  His journeys into my life often intersect significant moments in my own.  He was at St. John's only days after Jimmy died. We'd booked him months in advance.  Who would ever know or expect that this man who's been a part of every church in my life since First United Methodist Church, Mayfield, would on this occasion be chaplain, a real pastor to my family who made pilgrimage to Memphis to be together in the days following the most traumatic experience we'd ever encountered.

This man--singer, storyteller, artist.  Of all the things he is, he's my friend.

And I get to share my friend with the people of St. John's again this weekend.  He loves St. John's. In fact, in my first visit with him at his place I remember him asking me, "What did you leave St. John's and is there any way you can go back?"  I told him it was complicated and that I did promise I'd go where sent, and I can't imagine how going back was an option.

Who knew?

He's coming Friday to The Way.  He's not doing anything but being there.  So captured is he by John and the recovery ministry at St. John's, that he's coming a day early to experience it.  He'll lead us in worship on Sunday, and he'll be in concert at 3 p.m. in the sanctuary.

You should'll be worth your time.

I'm excited to see him...that he's coming.

But I'm even more excited about being with him, pulling out my calendar and booking my next time to be with him at his place.  The thing about sanctuary - once you know where it is, you'll do whatever you can to return to it whenever you can.

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