Rogier van der Weyden. Mary's Tears, detail from Descent from the Cross (circa 1399) from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN

Rogier van der Weyden. Mary's Tears, detail from Descent from the Cross (circa 1399) from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN

BY REV. TOMMY WILLIAMS, SENIOR PASTOR

I’ll close the Summer Together blog posts with some poignant notes from Marilynne Robinson in the voice of John Ames in Gilead.

“There are two occasions when the sacred beauty of creation becomes dazzlingly apparent, and they occur together. One is when we feel our mortal insufficiency to the world, and the other is when we feel the world’s mortal insufficiency to us” (245). Your thoughts?

Augustine said, “The Lord loves each of us as an only child,” and that has to be true, Ames affirms. “He will wipe the tears from all faces. It takes nothing from the loveliness of the verse to say that is exactly what will be required.”

The word that jumps off the pages toward the close of the book is –- gratitude. Gratitude for those closest to him, gratitude in the realism of his life and death, gratitude for what will come for him and those he loves.

What are you grateful for? Maybe we could be intentional about expressing our gratitude not in spite of reality, but in the very middle of it.

It is wholly insufficient to capture this masterful work in a few short blog posts or to encapsulate two international trips and a poignant film in June. My hope has been that they have spurred our thinking in faithful ways and that it has in some small part, bound us together once again. That is, after all, the root of religion. Ligion means to be bound together, as in ligament, and re, of course, to do it again. To be bound together again and again is something for which I am grateful.

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