It is Sunday night as I type this and I have been home for over twenty-four hours. I arrived home having slept only a few hours between the two plane rides in the previous thirty-three hours. I was so tired but I know enough about navigating time changes to know I needed to stay awake for a few more hours. I do not recall falling asleep later in the evening but I awoke fully clothed and on top of the covers in time to get to the church this morning so it all worked out.
I have been summarizing my thoughts about GA for many people today, in person and in writing. I wanted to make one final post on this topic for those of you accompanying me electronically. Thank you for reading all my reflections on this incredible experience.
It was a joy to come home and be hugged and shake hands with people I love dearly. Re-entry is always a challenge but today it was made sweeter with hugs, smiles, e-mails, and questions. I have spent the last nine days thinking about church on a large level, discussing money to be spent, arranging the work of many, what message we are sending to the world, and how faithful we are to our call as followers of Christ. I returned home to our Session meeting (governing board) and we talked about these same items. The similarities between the meetings was comforting. The differences not so great.
I am thankful for the way our denomination governs itself, from the local to the national level. I know we are not perfect, that we sometimes get our decisions and our words wrong. But mostly I think we try at getting it right, we are honest with each other and when we listen we are changed even as we change someone else. This afternoon as I sat around the table with my partners in service, others moved around us setting up for Vacation Bible School, and children laughed as they played in the building waiting for all of us to get done so they could go home.
It is good to come home and see the people that make being a part of a large denomination worth the work. It is good to see how we vary in politics and theology and yet sit at the table together breaking bread, sharing stories, challenging each other, and laughing together. This was just as it was a GA in those moments I had to sit and talk with others. It is what we were trying to do on a larger level, and I am thankful there were moments when this reality shone brightly as we gathered in Portland.
GA was well worth the sacrifices made to attend. If you ever get the chance to go I highly recommend it.