I grew up in the cold northern ND town of Walhalla (five miles from the Manitoba border). If you went to school (K-12 in one building) and lived outside of town on a farm, you rode the bus. If you lived in town, you walked to school. Or begged a ride off your parents or older siblings.Winter weather does whatever the hell it wants to do—and doesn't give a rip that a blizzard in the middle of the school day means that rural bus kids won't be able to get home. Bus drivers are superheros in my book. Especially in the wilds of North Dakota farmland (and come to think of it, in urban St Paul where they navigate traffic and unplowed streets). Yet, even superhero bus drivers have their limits. Sometimes, winter weather turns into a complete white out and the buses can't run.
Enter: a designated storm home.
In my day, each bus rider had to declare a storm home in town—which was usually a classmate or a relative. When a storm blew in during the school day and the buses were not able to run—everyone went to their storm home.
Lately, I have been thinking about Humble Walk as a sort of storm home for a variety of folks. Church workers and pastors who come limping in—looking for words of grace. Seminary students and leaders of congregations looking for a new way of thinking about church. People who have been deeply hurt by previous experiences in and around church—and have long written off being a part of a faith community.
We are somehow able to create space for hurting people—by the work of the Holy Spirit and by the grace of God and the love of Jesus Christ. And healing does happen. Maybe it happens by being a part of worship--voicing your own prayers during the service. Maybe healing comes with being a part of a tribe of people who love Jesus and live intentionally every single day. Maybe it's being able to voice doubt within a communally written sermon. Maybe it's gathering to sing hymns at the top of your lungs in a bar. Or being able to enter a gathering without having to pretend you are something you are not. As the pastor of this holy mess, I witness these healing moments every single week. I can't imagine a better gig. Thank you for seeking shelter with us.