Today is an anniversary of a sort. My father passed away in 1988 on this day. I think of him sometimes, but not as often as I used to. It feels disloyal somehow to say that, but it's true. There was a time when he came to me in dreams and smells and sounds almost every day. But not as much anymore. This is the way life is, right? What was once a significant event becomes delegated to the back folds of the brain where it is occasionally brought forward with some small memento, saying or old picture.
In my life now is a new person. She is very small still, only 6 weeks old! And I'm busy storing pictures and gestures and funny stories in those forward folds of my brain. And I suppose someday, these heady first few weeks will fade as well and be replaced by new smiles, new adventures and new beginnings. Again, this is the way life is. Beginnings and endings. Exhilaration and despair. Yin and Yang.
This Sunday is Pentecost Sunday. Commonly called the birthday of the church, when the followers of Jesus seemed to burst outside of the locked rooms in their heads and hearts and started to tell the story of God's love. It was exhilarating. And exciting. And then, they began to be persecuted and maybe it wasn't such a kick to be a Christian follower anymore! But the thing is, the story and the the telling of the life of Jesus just kept coming back again and again. No matter who was tortured or killed or well, pick your poison, the story did not go away. Like the family stories you still tell about the time your dad did that dumb thing and we all laughed about it. And the story we will share about the time our granddaughter did that one little thing and we're still talking about it months from now.
The story of love grows exponentially. Any story of love, yours or mine or God's. And the love God has for us isn't stopped because one voice is silenced. It doesn't cease because people get nervous or afraid to share the story. God's love is apparently bigger than all that. It's hard to imagine a love like that. One that we don't have to earn or "pay into". Sometimes I'm not sure I believe it. But in the love I feel for those around me, it must be true. And so I wish you warm memories and happy beginnings. And happy birthday to the church as well.