If you know me, you know I have a long, complicated relationship with congregations. I usually find myself at the edge of a faith community, because it’s the only place I seem to find breathing space. And I have occasionally been deeply wounded—deeply harmed—by persons in congregations. So I tend to carry myself with a measure of prudent caution. But the congregation to which I am connected these days (St. Paul’s UCC here in St. Paul) has been a healing, inviting place for me to be … and to breathe. This poem was sparked by my quiet joy after a small group book discussion, but is truly the culmination of a host of experiences that leave me … tingling.
Love letter to my church
I am not much on effusive displays of affection—
at least not in public. 😉
But I need to say this, or I’ll explode.
There are times you make me tingle
from baptized head to blessed toe.
Sunday morning worship that aims for authenticity—
blending prayer and preaching, silence and song.
Organ swelling, musicians playing, choir singing,
and kids—reverent, antsy, curious, quiet: BLESSED.
Meal fellowship where, ever over cheery words,
Jesus shows up in the breaking of bread.
Adult learning that asks us to lean in—hard—
to the places where faith and life cross—and cross again.
Coffee hour (but damn this pandemic!)
when casual conversation is sacramental
and we indeed become church to one another.
Small groups that make brave space to weave strength
on the loom of our shared vulnerability.
Sarah says, in her blessing at the end of worship,
“… and the community and power of the Holy Spirit.”
That’s us! Right there, caught up in the life of God.
In a world fraught with injustice and uncertainty
—but also rampant with beauty and joy!—
you make me excited (even amid my fears)
for what tomorrow might bring.
I’m glad we’re in this together.
Don’t blush, but even “tingle” falls short.
DRW – January 20, 2022
David Weiss is a theologian, writer, poet and hymnist, doing “public theology” around climate crisis, sexuality, justice, diversity, and peace. Reach him at email@example.com. Read more at www.davidrweiss.com where he blogs under the theme, “Full Frontal Faith: Erring on the Edge of Honest.” Support him in writing Community SupportedTheology at www.patreon.com/fullfrontalfaith.
I’m so glad to read this!
Hi David, I loved your poem for it is personal and yet reflects your life within an affirming community that is not stifling but freeing. There is for you an ebb and flow that calls forth your God given gifts because you also are calling forth their gifts. It is what community is called to be a place where the Spirit of God grows and deepens within us as we discover the freedom of living in and out of God’s grace in new, creative and life affirming power of God’s endless love. I think you are in love with these peole David and they are in love with you! The Spirit lives!