"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Paul to the persecuted at Philippi (2:5-11)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Begin-againdings

I am one of those unfortunate souls who rather likes to let everything pile up on my desk until it becomes such an overwhelming mess that I knock the whole thing into the trash bin and start over. I said to my husband tonight, wouldn't it be nice to throw out everything we own and start again? Partly that's because I have that intuitive perceiver personality type that just goes with the moment until the moment arrives that things have gotten out of control. Partly its due to my personal value for running life lean enough to turn on a dime. I'm not good at it (as my body shape and house clutter both attest) but I value it.

Its rare, in life, that you get the opportunity to knock everything off the table and start over. A major move, perhaps, but that's about all I can think of. And since throwing out the baby with the bathwater is patently unhealthy, I suppose its right that the opportunity be rare.

But that is, vocationally, what a friend and I have done. Sunday was our last Sunday in an established church, one with a real roof and floor, a mailing address and place to keep our stuff. After years of telling the congregation that they had to be willing to let the building and all its contents go, we did just that. We dared to walk away. We now store the entire inventory of our congregation's stuff in a box under the table in my hallway.

Its been ten years since I lived this lifestyle, passing off 'the mobile sacristy' from one car to another, making checklists of what needed to be in 'the box' each week, forgetting things and making do, watching after one another in the event the forgotten stuff wasn't mine, doing all the weird tasks of the church because there's not yet someone who likes to do the behind the scenes stuff like baking bread and buying wine (although we have a lady who washes the linens, may God grant her many years).

But its easier this time, in some ways. There's no mother church to split our time with (though I wouldn't trade the years at Grace in both places for anything). There's heat and light (though Grace in the Mausoleum was utterly wonderous beyond words). But I feel, without that mother church, profoundly that we're on our own out there. Its just us and our meager gifts and the grace of God. And I tend to see the grace of God as if through the wrong end of a telescope, sometimes, as further away and smaller than reality would indicate.

Its different and kind of free-floating. I've served a couple of parishes that spoil their clergy, picking up after me as I go along. There's no one to pick up after me here.

But everythings is fresh and new. I'm good at beginnings. Its endings that I don't do so well. I resonate well with a God who makes all things new.

Anyway, that's the long way of saying, wish us luck. We're church planters again. And that's kind of groovy.

1 comment:

  1. Funny how things sometimes occur. This morning I was thinking of some words. I liked what I was thinking because I think they are true words - maybe a little scary words. But I didn't think it was a blessing. So tonight you give me a chance to put those words down. Probably not a blessing. Probably just a co-ink-y-dink.

    He didn't say it would be comfortable or easy. He didn't say there might not be sacrifice and suffering. He just said to do it - and He will always be with you.

    Congratulations

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