Friday, December 18, 2009

"Of blessed memory..."

Travis Lee "Gideon" Addington

Now whenever I think about Gideon, I automatically add "of blessed memory." This is how Jews customarily refer to what Christians call "the faithful departed." Passionate about his Christian faith, Gideon was also keenly aware of how Judaism had formed most of his short-lived life.

Gideon sought and received the sacrament of Baptism as an adult. This is just one of the many ways we connected. I was also inspired by his commitment to the emergent church movement and ecumenicism.

More literally, we connected via Twitter, his blogs, through email, and eventually by phone. I know I'm not the only one who was provoked to deeper thought, broader faith, and greater action as a result of reading whatever he posted.

I'm thinking about Gideon a lot and not just because his suicide last Friday is stunningly fresh in my mind and heart. Even as I write this post, a cloud of witnesses has gathered for a Service of Witness to the Resurrection in Gideon's blessed memory. The service, which began at 9:00 AM Eastern Time, will continue throughout the day. Where? On Twitter.

And if this seems impossible or ridiculous or sacrilegious to you, I invite you to visit and scroll through the prayers and reflections being shared via #tworship.

I also invite you to scroll through the virtual condolence book on Sacred Ground (Voices from Trinity Tulsa). That blog, like many others, includes a prayer Gideon wrote last month, one that begins: "I am broken among the broken. . .Lord, deliver me from my despair." For insightful commentary about whether Gideon's prayer was answered, please read this post at Angelic Insights.

You'll find thoughts about the power of virtual community and how the image of God is revealed through people of faith at Missio Dei. This post at Complexity Simplified describes the comfort of virtual Compline the night Gideon's death was announced on Twitter.

There are many more examples to underscore this sacred reality: God exists everywhere, in all things, and at all times; faith in Christ is not defined or determined by denominations; church is not a building.

Gideon's life exemplified this wisdom, his death reveals it.