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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

There’s a land that I heard of once in a lullaby.

            You and I yearn for the place we remember, the place we remember hearing about once in a lullaby.  What is the place for which you yearn?  What is it like?
            For some of you lucky ones, the place for which you are yearning is the place where you go on vacation.  In vacation places, there are specific things that will be the same each year.  Maybe it's the feel and smell of the pine needles in the woods at the sandy pond where you went swimming.  Summer places might be the only time in the year when you buy a clam roll or perhaps you visit someone who makes a kind of pie that you like.  There is a certain feel to places that are special to us.  It gets cold in Framingham but that's different from the cold stillness that listens for your heart beat when you stop partway down the ski slope on the first run of the day, a cold that we all might like to visit in the midst of a humid July.
            It's not just outdoorsy or rural places for which we yearn.  Perhaps you are someone for whom that first glimpse of the ball field as you come to the ballgame is what calls to you.  Maybe the golden memory is deep in the stacks of a library, where the air is a little thick – brimful of potential worlds.  Perhaps, for you, it's the city of light, Paris, where I, for one, have never been.
            You may feel the pull of places you've never been.  That's a mystery, is it not?  You may never have walked on a beach where the south Pacific pounds in the sun and yet there is part of you that can conjure up the sound, feel the sand under your feet, sense the warm, southern breeze on your cheek, …
            I have cherished the notion that the sum of all our yearnings defines an open space within us.  In each of us, that open space is different because we yearn for somewhat different things.  The shape of that space within us is the shape of God, the one who is both always with us and never with us.  That is why our yearning for the essence of life and love is poised between the wonderfulness of that for which we yearn and the sadness of longing for it.
            Many Christian hymns sing longingly for the day when we'll "fly away," when "we shall overcome," when God "will make all things new," when Christ will come again.  I believe that we misuse these longings when they lead us to hope for heaven.  These longings exist in this world; a world of pine needles, breezes, pies, music, mountains, seas, and city streets.  I believe that we access the power of these longings when we acknowledge that each person we meet has them too.  
Do you believe that we all want deep, wonderful things?  
In that common desire for the wonderful, we can find each other.   In that common desire for God, we can find each other.  Look for me, won't you?
Where troubles melt like lemon drops away above the chimney tops that's where you'll find me!