We gather around the long table, a last supper of sorts.

Except, it’s breakfast and whether or not it’s our last together is up in the air. No one knows what life in the next year will bring.

Surrounded by the same outdated apple themed decor as years before, we laugh with one another and the stories just flow. We remember last year at this time, a time when our life together at church  went upside down.  We reflect momentarily and then we come back to the present. We look at one another and feel grateful. Another hard time behind us. Maybe not so neatly, but we’ve all moved forward.   Limping or running, it’s still forward.

Some folks have stayed. Some folks have gone. Some folks are still looking. Some folks are done.

Us  Mullen folks are done.

It’s interesting to be in a group of church going friends who used to be YOUR church friends.  This morning it was especially interesting  to hear what they are looking for in a church or what made the old one work for them.   Or- what they are working for as they make up and shake up the church.

For us leavers, it’s no one’s fault. There is no blame.

We’re just done.

There wasn’t much conversation around where we may be headed in that direction. For that, I am grateful. Our time together was much more focused on laughter and fun, parenting and marriage, jobs and vacations.

Politics was almost completely avoided. This, dear friends, is a very good thing.

I just want to say how glad I am that we found that church that took care of us for several years. We made good friends and we lost some along the way.   We laughed together and we cried. We argued and we fought.   We moved in the same circles for a time and then  we moved away.

Crazy, this thing we call life.

I wish church could be like this all the time. Being ourselves, laughing and tears included. No need to figure everything out, just making space for our stories. I read a poem by Hafiz today that threw all these things together for me into a beautiful waterfall of words. These words that can reach down deep into those closed off spaces.  Those spaces that we help each other open up to, every once in a while.

So my dear church friends, thank you for being church in a new form.

Thank you for not needing our theology to be the right one in order to love us.

Oh how I wish it was like this for us all- all the hemispheres with Open Arms.

All the Hemispheres

Leave the familiar for a while.

Let your senses and bodies stretch out

Like a welcomed season

Onto the meadow and shores and hills.

Open up to the Roof.

Make a new watermark on your excitement

And love.

Like a blooming night flower,

Bestow your vital fragrance of happiness

And giving

Upon our intimate assembly.

Change rooms in your mind for a day.

All the hemispheres in existence

Lie beside an equator

In your heart.

Greet Yourself

In your thousand other forms

As you mount the hidden tide and travel

Back home.

All the hemispheres in heaven

Are sitting around a fire

Chatting

While stitching themselves together

Into the Great Circle inside of

You.

~ Hafiz.

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