April 25, 2018

Welcome to wherever you are…

Life is funny. One moment exhilarates a person to the fullest, providing a sense of euphoria that is almost palpable, while the next can leave that same person breathless from shock, pain, or any other number of negative emotions. There’s little that compares to the contrast between life’s ‘up’s and down’s’; these events serve as rites of passage into adulthood and the recurring dues to remain within.
But that’s life, right?
Of course, none of us want to experience heart-ache; the sheer volume of daily decisions, responsibilities and extracurricular activities in which we engage manage to stretch us enough, as is. However, these other and additional moments of rotating emotion lend an edge to our character that hones us into sharper human beings—if we let them—or they can have the opposite and undesired effect of breaking us into nothing. Sometimes God provides grace enough to strengthen us, which allows us to stand on our own. And sometimes we’re not strong enough on our own to get up off of the ground after a traumatic experience.

But we're never alone.
That’s where this community comes in and serves its true purpose: to support, connect, uplift, and love its members in every season. If you ask folks in younger generations about church, most will tell you that it’s a construct of centuries’ past that is antiquated and in need of revision; I don’t necessarily disagree. We’ve done ourselves a disservice with the way in which we have interacted at various points in our history. People of color had to go to their own church; women had no place in leadership; disabled Christians couldn’t become clergy; socio-economic status became the metric of importance within these communities; and so on it went. But lately I’ve been noticing a trend in Christianity—at least the faith that flows within this place. The outside world doesn’t observe it, because they have been turned off by years’ past. But given the opportunity, those same skeptics would undoubtedly change their minds if they stepped within our midst.
Because most people seem to ‘get it’, here.
We’re not here to tout our successes to other churches, and we certainly don’t compete to ‘try and keep up with the Jones’. Rather, this place has been, and continues to be, a stronghold of defense for the hurting, the poor, the lame, the sick, the joyous, the young, the old, the vibrant and the depressed.
I want others to see your light when it shines brightly. And I want you to borrow that light from your neighbor in the dark night's of the soul. With a little perseverance and a great degree of grace, I believe that we can change the minds of those who will take the torch and continue to bring light into the world, echoing the traditions, love, and words of comfort that float like whispers in and around our hallowed space. But it will take patience. It will take time. And most importantly, it will take flexibility by those currently in leadership positions. You all know how much I love to hate the saying, “That’s how we’ve always done it,” when it’s repeated without thought. The old ways don’t all need to go away; but room needs to be made for the new ways, and the new people, to flourish. How can we include rather than volun-tell people what to do? How can we be appropriate ministers to the hurting within our midst without pressing the play button on that vaulted answering machine of clichés and platitudes?
There are those within this community who need the rest of us to tend to them. They won’t ask, but they shouldn’t have to, either. Whether it’s during the peace or at coffee hour, during the night music or the work-day, take a moment to dive deeper into relationship with one another. We’re not autonomous faith-filled people—we’re in this, together. The deeper we fall into relationship with one another dictates the depth of our despair. If we can continue to love without question and let the little things go, we’re going to continue to thrive. And that vitality will seep out into the very ground upon which others walk, providing support and encouragement for them to follow their feet home to Jesus Christ.
Keep up the good faith. Keep up the good work. Keep up and do more of the good love.
Fr. Sean+