January 4th, 2019
“Come and See”
At the Christmas Eve candlelight evening service at St. George’s, more than 250 folks packed the house for a worship service of song, laughter, reflection and blessing. It was amazing. And it was also about 75 more people than we typically have on a Sunday morning. I wonder what drew them to this place that night?
What I am Thinking About
“Come and See” John 1:39
Going to church on a Sunday morning isn’t a usual thing anymore – it has become a bit of an oddity. There are a zillion other places to go or things to do and for most folks, it doesn’t include waking up early, getting dressed, and heading into an old building with strangers to sing and pray and learn. And yet new people come into the church all the time, not just at Christmas. 20 years ago, I was a new person walking into a room full of folks doing just that.
I am reading through (or rather, listening through) the book of John. And John says to his buddies, hey you gotta check out this Jesus guy – he is the one we have been waiting for. So, his friends go to meet him and ask about what he is up to. And his answer is come and see.
And really, this is the invitation that always exists with this weirdo Jesus and his church of misfits: want to know what we are up to? Come and see…Come and see this path over here that you never explored before. Come and see this path that is different from the way you remember walking it as a child. Come and see a different way, a new way. Come and see what you have not seen before. Come and see what you have been waiting for. Come and see.
What I am Grateful For
Each year, St. George’s donates it’s entire Christmas Eve offering (the donations that are received during the service) to their partner charity for the year. This year, we collected over $2400 for Habitat for Humanity North Island – an amount that will be matched by local business owners! Wow, that is almost $5000 to support families in our community. Thank you!
What Inspires Me
The courage it takes to try something new. It is risky to walk into a new place with new people doing unfamiliar things. It is risky to step outside of what is familiar. Risky, and requiring tremendous faith. While I understand this is my call for the year (and likely beyond), I am in awe of the folks who show up and do this work all the time. Those who showed up for the Blue Christmas service in Cumberland, bravely facing their sorrow. Those who came through the doors of the church Dec. 24th, entering a church for the first time (or the first time in a long time). Those who stepped onto the jobsite to help build the new duplexes for Habitat for Humanity, enabling two families to get their homes months ahead of schedule and in time for Christmas. For those who make eye contact and say hello when even that small act is so difficult.
I have found that when we risk, even when we “fail”, there is no failure, because there is always learning and growth and opportunity.
How I am Practicing My Faith
Often as a calendar year closes, or as one begins, in my prayers I am struck with a word or phrase that resonates, either as a summary of the year that has passed or as an intention (or warning!) for the year ahead.
In my new years prayers, I prayed for God to reveal to me the theme for 2019…and I received the word risk. Yikes. Well God, I said, if that’s what it’s going to be, that’s what it’s going to be! I continued to pray that I would be guided by the ancients revealed in Scripture, that their wisdom and God’s closeness would lead me along unknown ways so that I may make the path by walking, as so many who have gone before me have done. So, I will keep my Bible close this year. I will need the comfort of all those God-lovers, God-arguers, God-avoiders, God-friends who have risked much more than I ever will to shout about how loved we all are.