On Saturday, I officiated a memorial service for one of the pillars of our church. For the past forty years, this man has demonstrated what it means to follow Jesus Christ within this tribe. He’s carried the mantle for justice and the leader of nearly every committee. For the past two years, it has been no different for me. I have seen all that this little tribe has admired in him and came to love him. This is always humbling to me — how quickly I can fall in love with church people, especially the ones who barrage me with things to read and things I should be doing as this particular saint never failed to do. It was this that I remembered in the words that I offered at the memorial service. I remembered his words — the way he crafted them, the sheer number of them and how much he loved reading them.

In the days since, I have retreated into books. It’s partly the weather. Rain has come to the Pacific Northwest and all I want to do is curl up with a good book, but it’s also Lee. In his memory, I want to be surrounded by words. Other people’s words. Not my own. That’s what I realized today at the gym. I’m more than content to read other people’s words especially with the recent release of The Christian Century‘s fall books issue. Ooooh books!

But, I have been avoiding my own words. Beyond my recent sermons, I haven’t penned a word. My prayers have been wordless — and I have delayed on the hope of using my words because of fear… laziness… uncertainty… I’m not really sure why. But, I miss them. I miss those words and hope that I can be a better shepherd in my prayers and in my writing. Because I really do need words — my very own words.

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