Someone asked me once, why use the word “reclaim?” I think about the story of visiting my grandparents’ farm four years ago; they had long since died and the farm was about to be sold to someone else in the family who would continue to farm the land and live. As I looked around, the longstanding buildings were in pretty bad shape, the fences had not been repaired in years, and weeds had grown up along the driveway. The farm had aged. I went into my grandfather’s shop where I spent many hours as a boy watching him repair machinery, weld, and fabricate metal. While we worked together we shared long and special conversations about farming, life, and faith. I looked in the corner and saw the old forge that grandpa had used to heat metal either to repair and mend something, or make something entirely new out of raw material. There, in front of the forge, covered with an old worn blanket, was his anvil. I guess I never really paid much attention to the anvil — probably just took it for granted that Grandpa would take hot metal from the forge and place it on the anvil where he would pound and form it, then place the metal back into the forge and back on the anvil again where it would continue to be molded and shaped into something useful.
Something happened that day for me; that old anvil, hidden under a worn blanket on the floor of his wooden shop, never left. Although I had forgotten about the anvil and much of the time spent in that shop with my grandfather, I had reclaimed more than an anvil, or a memory, or a tradition…I had reclaimed a deeper understanding of the relationships that created and formed who I am today, including most profoundly, God!
When we think about reclaiming the Triune life of God, we need to keep in mind that God hasn’t left the church, our communities, or for that matter, any aspect of God’s world, including us…but perhaps we haven’t been looking for God or have just become too busy doing all kinds of things to see God at work. For many of us, this coming Sunday we will hear the text from the 17th chapter of John, “But now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves.” (NRSV) We are reminded that the sending and earthly ministry of Jesus, including his death and resurrection, was never done apart from the community of the Father and the Holy Spirit. As Jesus prays this prayer to the Father in the strength of the Spirit for not only his first disciples, but for those who continue to come and believe, we too are reminded of the God who claims us in Jesus Christ revealed through the power of the Holy Spirit as God’s joy is poured into our hearts so that we may be sent joyfully into God’s world serving and caring for all of God’s creation. So, take a moment today and stop…pause, and reclaim the joy of the Triune God for you and for all of God’s world.