In Memoriam XIV

Photo by Roman Synkevych on Unsplash

Dear Garrett,

As you know we’ve embarked in a new adventure. The way here has been filled with Spirit moments, seeded in an angst that is hard to describe but blooming in the fertile ground of the layers of soil, the organic material of the last few decades. Each layer with its fruitfulness and fitfulness, each layer with its signs of life and its signs of death, each layer important for blooming to take place.

I thought about you often during the discernment. As you know more than once I appealed to the saints, asking for wisdom, clarity, and intercession. More than once I could see you with Abuelo, my Abuela Yia, and Abuela Lico who joined the great company in February. Though there have been the difficult moments I could feel you all’s presence, wisdom, and love. You all faithfully supporting and helping me awaken to joy.

In each new place you show up in interesting ways. This past Sunday as I preached my first sermon to the people called First-Plymouth a few folks asked me about my SpiritStirrer tattoo. I smiled and said that I would share that story with them soon. I’m still at this work thanks to you. In the last few years I’ve been reminded often of what the Spirit told me the fateful day of your leaving: I’ve been called to this work. The Spirit continued calling, even through my kicking and screaming!

The last year has been a year of pandemic. A year that has made all of us reconsider what matters most. This last year has reminded me of the importance of community, of deep and intimate community, of the kind of community that we experienced in such an incarnate way around your leaving. That kind of community is messy and complicated, filled with the joys and pains of being human. It is also the kind of community that shapes us over time into a more faithful humanity. A humanity that reflects God in more incarnate ways.

So part of the new adventure was born in a desire to live more deeply in community. This requires us to root, to live life in a place, to invest in it over time and to do so among a people. This I recognize is part of what Teilhard de Chardin called the “slow work of God.” This work will bring much joy, but as we learned fourteen years ago it will also bring heartbreak. We are ready again, we have experienced it a number of times in the last fourteen years and now we have decided to make that reality even more visible. We have chosen to root for the long haul, in a neighborhood of our choosing, in a community of faith committed to loving all people and to the practice of justice.

Fourteen years ago for a moment I experienced such hopelessness and loss. It turned out that the divine redeemed it and that moment propelled us into an adventure that is still surprising us, still humbling us, and still inspiring us to stay the course in communal life. The layer of death in our soil a key part of the blooming that is happening as we speak. You still companioning me, reminding me that I am one who pastors. I still miss you . . .

See you at the Great Feast!

Peace & Love,
Juan Carlos+

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