It ends with a blessing.

Tonight was our last night leading a house church. We've been leading a community in some form or another for about five years now. We had margaritas (frozen strawberry and regular on the rocks), cabernet and strawberry shortcake. I called it the "what are they gonna do, shut us down?" night. It was sad and hopeful all at the same time. People remembered where they were in their lives and journeys when they came to this community, and what's happened in their lives since. I said a lot of words and felt mildly retarded (as I usually do when sticking my heart out there). I hope some of them made a difference. I hope some of the journey-ing together made a difference in their lives. It did in ours.

At the end, we listened to a blessing and meditation from a Taize CD called
Inner Room I got at the retreat a couple weeks back. It has Father Thomas Keating reading passages of scripture woven through the music. Some of us sat, some lay on the floor, some with eyes closed and singing along. We listened to the Domine Deus track, in which Father Keating reads:

May the Lord bless you and take good care of you

May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you
May the Lord look upon you with favor and give you his peace. (From Numbers 6:24-26)

The blessing is read three times. Then singers come in with:
Lord of all goodness, Son of the Father,
May your peace surround us

I told them that this blessing is the embrace we're entrusting them into. May God take good care of us, as well. This road has not been easy.