Our community is changing. This isn't new. Because we are a mission church--because we move (on average) once a year--because we are nimble--we are repeatedly aware that to live is to change. Have you noticed the new faces around the community? Things are alive. This growth period we are now in, however, feels differently. And not just because we are now kosher on Sundays and have an insulting parrot to visit.
The story that we tell about ourselves (as Humble Walk) might be slightly different than our reality. The story we tend to tell is that we are wildly organic, Spirit-led community. While that is definitely true and awesome, we are something else, too. Friends, we are a church. I know---that sounds strange and perhaps you want to deny it. But it's true. We are absolutely a church. We are part of an institution that has done incredibly gorgeous and completely disastrous things over the last 2000 years (with much of it falling somewhere in the middle).
I know we like to think of Humble Walk as this rag-tag group of alley cats just tryin' to figure life out. Perhaps. Yes. And also, we have been traveling and praying and stumbling for six years. Our hearts have been broken open with Scripture and Holy Communion. Some of us have been drowned in the waters of baptism. We have been formed by music, art and the stories that we all carry. We have shown up for one another and offered support. This is what it means to be church.
My role in this community been to witness this birth (bloody! sweaty! beautiful! terrifying!) and to walk with you--pointing to Christ's presence. That pointing job isn't hard--good grief, evidence of God's good and redeeming love is everywhere. I get to tell the story of Jesus' love--like, as a JOB and then bear witness to you all living it out every single day.
And a few others things that have become my job over the years. Yesterday, I listed them out on the whiteboard in my office. They are:
Worship Life: preaching worship planning (Nate) Housekeeping (set up and take down) Hospitality
Bar Life: Theology Pub Beer and Hymns (Nate) Storytelling
Park Life: Garden (Sara) Wild Events (Casey) Wild Week (Casey, Emily)
Online Life: Creating fb events for all of the above Web site maintenance (Erin) Blog Promoting events
Other Life: Pastoral Care Supervising Luther Seminary students Youth Group Consulting with the broader church General administration Treasurer: (Slade) Grant writing Mission support Retreats (Fall, Winter, Summer) What am I missing?
Here is what I want you to think about--I am ready to release a good portion of this list into your care. As you read through this description of our life together, what part do you have some energy around? What is it that you want to do? We have continually added pieces all along the way--perhaps it's time we let go of some. If so, what?
If your name is behind one of these pieces, that means you are the point person for this area. Guess what? You don't have to do it forever. If you want to be released--we will release you. And we are mighty glad you are doing what you do right now.
At my last clergy retreat, we spent some time on this Gospel:
Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; and they were continually in the temple blessing God.
What is this is all true? What if because we know forgiveness (it might all be about forgiveness) --because our minds have been opened --because God has promised --because we have been clothed with power on high --we might go out into the world with great joy? Not when we are trained. Not when we are competant. But now? I believe it is all true.