It feels like just a short time ago I came to this church, afraid of being in a church again and at a pretty low point in my own life. But this is my third October with this great big family of people, and I find myself looking forward to planning Advent with the worship team (can you believe it’s almost time?) and growing into this opportunity I have as an Emerging Leader.
It has been such a blessing to grow with the community: getting to know everyone individually first, and then getting involved with church ministries and coming to understand the church as this weird and wonderful body of Christ that we all embody.
Jay Johnson, a professor at Pacific School of Religion, writes that there is an ecstasy in coming to know people, in breaking bread with them. I find in the moments that might appear most fraught—when we have a difficult meeting as a congregation, when feedback is constructive, but corrective, when something goes wrong and perhaps an ankle gets twisted playing pool noodle soccer—that I feel the presence of God the most, in grace, in love, and understanding. These things are celebrations of who we are, rising to support each other. If we didn’t have these moments, would we really know each other fully? Would we appreciate the easy times?
I get the sense that we as a community are in a period of transition. We have a vision of where we’re going and what we want to be, but we haven’t yet traveled this road. We know what we want and who we want to be, but it is the journey that shapes us into the people and the community we will become. With each day serving those with housing insecurity, every meeting about what our new construction will look like and how it will operate, as people graduate from youth group and new young people come to us, we are becoming the church we envision.
There is so much constructive, creative energy in the process of transition. As we look forward to the time ahead of us, I think of the times I get to look out at everyone from the Chancel, and wonder which people I might get to know better, and what new faces will appear in our midst. There are little gaps in the pews that seem like opportunities, places for new people to have a home, new relationships to be made. From where I sit, I cannot help but be excited about the future, growth, and change.