I pick up the book and run my fingers across the binding of this book. Her name spanning the width of the book….Rachel Helds Evan. It was the first place I read her name as I picked up my own copy of Searching for Sunday. Her words balm to my soul as I read the entire book in three days.
To be honest, the church can sometimes be a messed up yet glorious place. There have been times in my life when I’ve had to search out and seek words that would lift up my soul. Rachel’s words have always spoken to me in that very way.
So when the words of Rachel’s death finally hit social media, my heart broke. In that moment, I wanted to do everything in my power to turn back time; to make sure none of this happened. But the reality was all to real. I knew that as the tears trickled down my face.
Here I am grieving someone I never met. Yet her words, her generosity, her being were a gift to me and the world. I am grieving that her chiildren are growing up without her. I am grieving that there will be no more words from her. I am grieving a sister in Christ who I easily could have sat down with over coffee and dreamed up ways to be the church in this broken world.
And yet in our grief, I see the wider church coming together once again because of this beautiful woman of valor.
“Church is a moment in time when the kingdom of God draws near, when a meal, a story, a song, an apology, and even a failure is made holy by the presence of Jesus among us and within us. Church was alive and well long before we came up with the words relevant and missional, and church will go on long after the grass grows through our cathedral floors. The holy Trinity doesn’t need our permission to carry on in their endlessly resourceful work of making all things new. That we are invited to catch even a glimpse of the splendor is grace. All of it, every breath and every second, is grace.” (Searching For Sunday, Rachel Held Evans; P. 1)
In addition, some of Rachel’s last words reminded us of the reality of life, death and resurrection. “Death is a part of life.” Today, this week, the next hour, the next minute, this reality is so raw, so real as we mourn this dear woman of God.
Thank You for showing us what the church should and can look like. In your honor, I will work to make that church; that kingdom appear on earth. Thank You for your words. Thank You for all you gave us. But, Rachel, thank You doesn’t seem enough! May you Rest In Peace!