Another tide rises to meet the toxic waves of the “sexual revolution.” The world is charged with the grandeur of God, and grace swells all about us. Eighteen couples arrived last Friday night at the conference room in Mountain View, overwhelmed by tides of sadness, hurt, and despair. They were drowning, but the Retrouvaille couples at our weekend (five of them, all of whom had been drowning themselves not so long ago) threw them a life line. The couples who began the Retrouvaille movement in French-speaking Canada in 1977 chose the life preserver as their symbol.
My favorite moment in the 44-hour workshop is Saturday night, when we open it up to individual testimonies. The sad darkness from just the night before has been replaced by smiles. A lightness of spirit fills the room as couples witness to the glimmers of hope they are beginning to see. Maybe we can recover love, they say. The presenting couples have done it. Why can’t we, if there is a God?
But the church building was not beautiful. It had been built as a gym, and then the church never got built, although a state of the art gymnasium did get built, while altar and tabernacle remained in the old gym. As we prayed in that drafty and plain structure, I gazed at the cheap felt banners, threadbare carpet, dull concrete walls, and naked tabernacle. Hooks meant to hold the veil were still in place, but the veil had been torn away. Despite the “bare ruined choirs” of many of our parishes, where sports is given so much more time and money than divine worship, people still come to pray. The faith has not been completely eradicated, nor can it be. No one can stop the work of God in our parishes and schools. We can delay it, through fear and neglect, but we cannot stop it. A rising tide of grace will always flood the earth, now that Christ is risen and sent his Holy Spirit among us.