Calvary Episcopal Church
Memphis, Tennessee


The Twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost
November 19, 2000
Volume 45, No.41

The Sacrament of Letting Go

This title phrase is used by Macrina Wiederkehr in her excellent book of prayers and reflections, Seasons of Your Heart. I love it. The sacrament of letting go.

We need to think of "letting go" as a sacrament, because to let go is so very difficult.

When our children were younger, I would sometimes hear them say: "Dad, you worry too much." And I would reply, "I'm a parent; it is part of my job!" And they would wrinkle their faces and squint their eyes and say something like: "O, Dad, give it up. Let go!" There may have been a piece of me that was on target. However, a piece of their message was also on target. The sacrament of letting go. A tough sacrament to learn.

The trees of autumn teach us something about trusting and letting go. Macrina Wiederkehr reflects that in the autumn of the year she wants to lean her head against a tree and ask what it feels like to lose so much, to be so empty of all the leaves – and to learn again the whispered truth from the tree what it means to possess the grace to let go and wait in trust for the next gift. O, trees of autumn, teach us this sacrament of letting go – and the sacrament of trust-filled waiting.

A portion of prayer and poetry from Macrina:

she celebrated the sacrament of letting go
first she surrendered her green
then the orange, yellow, and red
finally she let go of her brown
shedding her last leaf
she stood empty and silent, stripped bare.
Leaning against the winter sky
she began her vigil of trust . . .

The sacrament of waiting began
The sunrise and sunset watched with tenderness.
Clothing her with silhouettes
they kept her hope alive . . .

Every morning and every evening
they stood in silence
and celebrated together
the sacrament of waiting!

An autumn reflection – as we move towards the waiting of Advent.
~ Most faithfully,
Doug Bailey+

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