Sunday, April 3, 2016

The empty halter

Joyce Sasse, Spiritual Gleanings

The empty halter and the pathetic look on Robbie’s face told it all. Yesterday he sold his first 4-H calf, and just as he had lovingly told the story of caring for and training that calf, he wanted to tell our tiny congregation the rest of the story. The dollars raised weren’t nearly so significant as was the surrender of his pet.

What I appreciated was the fact the church was the place where the sharing of this drama unfolded. Regularly during “check in” time at the beginning of worship there was opportunity for anyone, younger or older, to speak up about their highs, their lows and their prayer concerns. These issues were remembered in the prayers and talked about in the social time that followed. It was our way of building community and affirming the spiritual values that nurtured us.

In the prayers we gave thanks for the way our farmers cared for the land and their livestock. In the hymns we sang about the gifts of Creation and that we are needed to be wise caretakers of this world. As we shared refreshments, Robbie was encouraged to tell and re-tell his story as he worked his way through the emotions buried deep in his heart. Others recalled times when someone in their family had experienced a similar loss. Slowly you could see how various individuals moved through painful moments … to anticipate new ventures.

Not only does it “take a village to raise a child”, but we all need to feel we are part of that village. As such we all have something to offer each other when sharing our delights and our darkness. We also need a safe platform were we can move through that pain to receive reassurance and hope.

That’s what is meant when we sing “Come in and sit down, you are a part of the family.

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