Love has open hands
Love is expensive stuff. And you can take that statement to the bank. If you’re going to love—really love—it’s going to cost you. And sooner or later, it will cost you big.
When it costs you big, that’s when you discover the quality of your love. If your version of love is impatient, selfish, or conditional, you won’t want to make good on that price tag. You either refuse to pay up, or you’ll do it begrudgingly.
As I sit here typing, I am aching from the cost. Because today, love was really expensive. It cost me something very, very dear to me.
It costs me my church family and my pastors.
This church, these people, these pastors, are gloriously imperfect and deeply beloved, just as I am the same. But we’ve sought the presence of the Lord together. We’ve laughed together, cried together, eaten together, dreamed together, prayed together.
But eventually, Love whispered to our pastors and said “Will you go?”
And Love whispered to the rest of us and said “Will you let them go?”
Our hearts all broke together. They did not want to go. We did not want to let them.
But Love asked. How could any of us say no?
My heart quickly reminded me that a thing can’t be taken from you if you willingly give it. I knew in an instant that this had to be my deepest response, deeper than my tears (there have been plenty), deeper than the pain. And so I chose to send them with love and blessing. The rest of my church family chose the same.
It doesn’t feel good. It really hurts, because this has been one of the sweetest, most fruitful seasons of growth I’ve ever experienced in my entire life, and I don’t feel ready to leave it. But there is peace in it, and joy too…because I am sending my best offering. No second-rate goods here.
Our last gathering was this morning. There will be no replacement pastors. As an organization, the church has disbanded. As an organism, it is alive in our hearts, bound together by the same Spirit beyond space and time, and we all carry that life with us as we each face forward and begin to move into the next new normal…whatever that may be.
I don’t know what’s next for the Sparky people. I feel a little adrift. Ok…a lot adrift. But God has something in mind, surely. And I walk out of this church very different from the person who walked, or maybe the better word is crawled, in almost two years ago.
Love is the only thing that can break a heart like this. But avoiding pain is really choosing to avoid love, and that’s a different kind of expensive. That’s a price I’m not willing to pay.
So Jesus…You filled my life with wealth so that I could then turn around and pour it out for You. You gave me good things so that I could be generous in Your kingdom.
Do it again, Lord.