And so, here in the spiritual desert, in the night of increasing aridity, God’s people search through all the familiar patterns, activities, choices, and ways, all the old options that used to provide a sense of religious stability, of spiritual meaning. We think about all the ways we worked to get people to join the church and realize that often what we really wanted was enough money in the offering to pay the utility bills…
We look around, stunned and grief-stricken at our own impotence. It is as if all the familiar furniture was packed into a great moving van and carried to a far country, but none of it fits in the new house, and the old house has been torn down and we are now foreigners living in a world we do not know. After a while we sit down, exhausted from all our efforts, and think about calling it quits. We keep asking ourselves why nothing works anymore. We lose the desire to try.
The unutterable weariness initiates for some people, both clergy and lay, a disillusioned exodus from the church. They simply walk away. Some do leave for greener pastures, hoping the church with the Anglican liturgy, or the church with the praise band, or the church with a better children’s program will fill the longing. For others this giving up of what used to be is the beginning of a long bitterness…For some weary pilgrims hope still flickers, however dimly, calling forth yearning for love and community, for spiritual life. The way to get there is a mystery hidden in the obscurity of loss.
They were fingers that somehow became the moon.