Wednesday, July 16, 2008
A Library Card
I remember the very first time I got a library card. I was six or seven and went to the library in town with my friend who lived right around the corner. She lived so close to the library that we could walk by ourselves and we felt very important. We gave the lady at the desk our addresses and home phone numbers and she called our homes to talk to our mothers to make sure we had permission to get a library card. We felt so proud and so grown up. It was the first of many library cards, and a treasured memory forever.
Yesterday, while visiting at my mother’s, my husband and I went into the local library to get a card. Since we are here on a regular basis, access to newspapers, books and computers is a great thing. We both love the library, and my husband is particularly fond of books and libraries – the printed word. We have had library cards here in the past, so we felt it was a good thing to do. The women at the desk were very friendly and helpful, and after we gave them our names and information, along with our local address and phone number, one of them picked up the phone and called my Mom. 45 years later and they are still calling my Mom to verify who I am. When she answered the phone and they told her that her daughter was at the library getting a card, she asked, “which one?” She is still a comedian at 85.
There is something wonderful and humbling about being in a place where folks can call your mom to verify who you are. And there is something magnificent about the simplicity and constancy of libraries. A place where everybody has access to expand their minds, learn new things and discover new world. I have forgotten many of the significant places in the towns where we have lived, but I remember all the libraries. They have made us a welcome and a home in many strange cities and have provided us with learning and navigational tools wherever we have been. They are true welcome and hospitality when still a stranger in a new home.
Today, the Bishops of the Anglican Communion will gather for the Lambeth conference. I pray that their experience of welcome will be to them like the libraries I have known. I hope it is a sacred moment of access for everyone and an invitation to navigate and discover new worlds. As one excluded from the event, I know how powerful full access can be, and the cost of being excluded and excluding others. The full range of voices and world to discover can be lost. May we today, be agents of true welcome and hospitality wherever we are. May God give us the courage to offer the knowledge and insights we have to others, knowing that they will receive and use the gifts in ways we cannot predict. And may we remember those who are denied access and a voice for they are singing new songs in wildernesses and telling stories of world that we need to hear.
Great Creator God, be present with these your people as they rise and may their hearts be moved by the ocean of your love. Gentle Spirit, touch them with gentle morning light to soothe their fearful minds, and gently guide the wayward and the willful alike that they might be fed together and find rest. May each be surprised by love and generosity, may each be generous and loving to others. May the soft constant winds of growing times blow through their midst, so that each might find discovery and delight in your presence and in one another. In Christ’s name we pray, Amen.
Dear God, at the end of the day, may they rest in your loving arms. None are infants and yet all need your security, your reassurance, your rest. Help them release the failures of the day as pollen to the wind. Help them turn again to you as the earth turns from the sun for another nights rest. Guide them as they seek wisdom and as they look up to you may illumination be as bright as the moon and the stars in the sky. May their evening conversations be filled with laughter and delight, as gentle as birdsong, as light as bird feathers. And may they rest completely in the knowledge of your love that completely covers and surrounds them in every breath they take. In Christ’s name we pray, Amen.