Some weeks in the life of the church are ones that, if ever I’m feeling down, restore my faith in the church, in the Spirit of God moving through an imperfect-yet-hopeful people who practice bold love of God and neighbor and boundless compassion for all people. This has been one of those weeks!
Sunday encouraged me from start to finish. A Sunday School class renewing itself with hope and commitment. The opening strains of worship encircling us with voice and trumpet. Lynne’s achingly beautiful prayers of the people that, amidst it all, called us back to the God of love. Baby Wilson gazing around in awe, as you promised to be his preachers and teachers in the journey of faith.
Then throughout the week, a regular sprinkling of mercy that nourishes even the driest souls. Cards, texts, hugs, and the kindest of words from so many of you who expressed your sympathy to me for the loss of my grandmother. John telling us about the goodness and grace of God, who rejoices in his four months of sobriety and his new job as a dishwasher. A number of you gathering before dawn to unfold God’s mystery through your study of the Gospel of John. Amy’s trip with Alice to the doctor to be present for her in moments of fear, compelling greater attention to the economic inequities right in our backyard. Jill showing up filled with love for Deb in a moment of need. A circle of women knitting hats for hundreds who will receive the gift of their warmth this winter. Emails flying around to organize Saturday’s outreach event at the Hammerbird 5K. Our Finance Committee, faithfully attending to the task of being good, creative stewards of the resources set before us. Our staff praying together for you — for your lives and families and work and health and flourishing.
The joy continued as we gathered on Wednesday. Reports of transformation from Kim and Nathan after a week in Cuba. Upcoming new member gatherings coming to life as Leslie and Kim dream connection into being. Belonging shared as Elizabeth, Hannah, and Isabelle shoulder teenage life together. Mark and Justin preparing a beautiful meal for our community’s enjoyment. Joy practicing hospitality and greeting a new guest. Fran and I remembering Ellen’s feisty determination with pangs of equal parts loss and gratitude. Silas firmly anchored in Chris’s lap, as is his custom.
And then as we shifted from a meal into the night’s conversation on “Becoming Advocates: Stories from those cultivating the well-being of children,” we heard Brent’s fierce call to advocacy within the school system, Jessica’s witness to God’s abundant grace and patience that enables her daily work as a child social worker, and Nikki’s deeply moving life story connecting her experience as a single mom of nine with her passion for the underserved parents in our community. I watched you lean in, learning and engaging deeply with our shared call to be advocates for children. The evening ended with Mary Nell’s beautiful affirmation of all our kids; with Naomi giving indiscriminate hugs to anyone who’d receive them; with Paul and Richard and Scott and Carlos laughing their way through story after story; with David, Jake, and our faithful sanctuary choir rehearsing music for Good Friday’s service that would make you weep with its beauty.
Kevin and Kate were spot on on Sunday, as they talked about the village necessary to raise a child. To that I’d add: no matter our age, it takes a village to be the church. And oh what a village you are!
Together in the work of Love,