Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Sound of Yearning


Recently I went to a funeral for the son
of a friend who died way too young
from the despicable disease called cancer.
Because he was a popular teacher and 
soccer coach at a Catholic high school, 
the church was packed.

I hadn’t been in a Catholic church 
since high school and only knew 
the structured liturgy and constant motion
of sitting, standing, kneeling and sitting again.
We had to park blocks away and were a bit late.
As we stood at the door, 
the hundreds of voices singing in unison 
drew us immediately in.
I had been so focused on the grief that
I wasn't prepared for the sense of holiness 
that would hit me upon entering that church.

Though it was a funeral service, 
though tears were streaming,
though high school soccer players
were leaning on one another for support,
there was a transcendent hope in that place.
I heard voices joined together declaring 
the resurrection power of God's love.
It wasn’t the sound of many voices; 
it was the sound of one voice.
The sanctuary was big and ceilings were high,
and candles were everywhere.
It spoke of strength and light—and holiness.
Maybe on a different occasion,
in a different setting, a different era--
shoes would have been off.
The Light of the World was there to invite us
to join in, to listen, to respond.
And I heard the sound of yearning.

This sound was the yearning
to be a part of something bigger,
to be part of a living symphony of faith.
The sound was the yearning to be one,
 yearning to love more deeply,
yearning to pierce the spirit of grief 
with the sound of hope,
yearning to live life full of faith
in the One who conquered death 
that we might truly live.
The sound was the yearning for holiness
to return to our familiar lives again.
I am haunted by that sound
and am praying the haunting 
stays until it changes me.
There is this yearning...

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