Monday, November 14, 2005

See You on the Journey

Native American speaker, Ray Buckley, was speaking at an event I attended this weekend and explained that in his tribe there is no word for good bye. They do not believe that any parting is final. Rather, they say a word, far beyond my ability to spell or pronounce, that means “I will see you on the journey.” Additionally, he went on to explain the concept for his people of the parting is the claiming that that person would be remembered. Not remembered in our modern understanding of simply recalling who they are, but as a part of who you are you are connected to who they are. To remember them means that they are now part of you.

Every person influences others. I once heard my friend Tim Elmore (www.growingleaders.com) say that even the most introverted person contacts and influences up to 10,000 persons in their lifetime. What if we too the two truths from Ray to heart. What if we really began to realize that every person we remember becomes a part of who we are? What if we really believed that no parting was final, there would always be another time on the journey when we would encounter them again? How would we then live?

Relationships are about remembering. We retell the stories of our meetings and partings as part of that process. By retelling and re-membering each story, we reclaim and restore that person’s part of our lives and incorporate it into us. We are designed to be part of one another. Relationships thrive when we are able to recount the positive stories with more passion than the negative ones. They dissolve when the negative stories overwhelm the positive. It is hard sometimes to embrace the best parts when the worst parts seem most evident.

Jesus had a similar understanding. In the service of communion we recall His words when we say “do this in remembrance of me.” What he was really saying, similar to what Ray explained about re-membering, was that when we did these simple acts we would bring Him present to where we are. Jesus shows up by the divine mystery. We practice the sacrament to help us to remember the best parts of our relationship with God. It is not that we do not struggle with fear and doubt, but that despite these “worst parts” God will loves completely. It is in these divine re-membering moments that God is most real to us. Where we are able to embrace the joy of Christ, to embrace the forgiveness offered in the divine sacrifice and seek restoration of relationship with God and others.

As I received the sacrament at this event, I knew Christ was re-membered in it. I began thinking of the relationships in my life and began reclaiming the best parts and releasing the worst parts because I know that every one of those relationships is part of who I am. I know that I will see them somewhere down the road, on the journey. That no parting is ever really final, at least so long as I remain…

Lost in Grace,

Marty

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