I returned home from the conference yesterday afternoon. It was a really good experience for me. This is a relief, really. I've had some horrific conference experiences. And always go on guard. I just never know how they'll be. You get a bunch of people whose faith is important enough to spend a few days with people they don't know and terrible things can happen. Anyway, that wasn't the case here. So, joy.
The day's been spent catching up on some church work. Huh? I'm in academia, you say? Can't prove it by me. The chasm still yawns.
Here is a gift I received at the conference. On that last day, during worship, we broke up into little tiny groups in the midst of worship for an experience of lectio divina over Psalm 139. This psalm is a tremendously important part of my call to ministry, gee, seven years ago now. At the time I was rooted in a contemplative practice that sustained me, nourished me. In seminary, as the story goes, I got away from that practice little by little. In graduate school, my land is parched.
So yesterday I heard something different as I listened to the beginning words of Psalm 139:
"O Lord, you have searched me and you know me.This time, I heard the past-tense of "you have searched me." It is done. And yet, continuous. "and you know me." It's already done, and yet it goes on.
You know when I sit and when I rise.
You know my thoughts from afar."
I once knew the space that is God. I could fall into that space simply on a breath. In seminary, my breathing became a bit more shallow. And even more so here. But yesterday, I heard the possibility of breathing God again with ease. You have searched me and you know me.