Leavings - Final Words from Claiborne

Leavings They’re all different, aren’t they?

Leaving…

for the first day of school

after a poor audition

for deployment overseas

after a child’s wedding

for a vacation

after a hospital stay

for a trial

after a sports loss

for a baby shower

after a good day’s work

for a blind date

after a funeral

Leaving is all about coming and going, or so it seems.  But I think it’s actually about leavings (with an s).  What are we leaving behind as gift or burden, known or even unknown?  What are we carrying forward, all that is wonderful or worrisome which is left on our hearts?  And what will become of our leavings, those left behind and those carried forward?

“I will not leave you comfortless,” Jesus tells the disciples before the Ascension.  In seminary, I was taught that comfort isn’t about soothing, but that it means, “to strengthen with” (from the Latin).  In all our arrivals and departures, we are strengthened by the power of God with us.  I know this about my own life as it unfolds, and I know it about the life of the beloved communities known as Emmaus House and Emmaus House Chapel.  Sometimes we call this God’s providence.  This does not mean that what is happening is because of a grand plan in which we are merely puppets.  No, God’s providence means that in whatever circumstance we find ourselves, God provides enough for us to act in faith.  Yep.  I learned that in seminary too and I still draw on those leavings from 40 years ago, just as I will be sustained by the leavings I take with me from this holy place.  And so we all rejoice, give thanks and sing, called into the future by the One who is our strength and our greatest joy and who continually sustains us with Comfort and Love.