This time of year is always a little bit crazy and a little bit hectic. I certainly am no exception to that. Add onto that all of the insanity happening at a national and international level, and it makes for a recent past that is anything but normal. But even in the midst of this craziness, we are called to (in the words of the spiritual) “keep our eyes on the prize.”
For me, the prize I focus on is being in deep, abiding community with our cities. Of course, we as Christians are called to be out and about, working faithfully within our communities—not to “save” them, but to be able to participate in the great thing God is doing through them. As Christians, community is baked into our DNA. In our church, we practice communion every week. We share with each other those things on our hearts. And we join together in leaving the world just a little bit better than we found it.
One of the things that I recently did was an excellent in-depth training about domestic violence through the YWCA. Some of you will remember the recent conversation we had with Amy Sanford-Schmidt about the upcoming Morrow Manor transitional home. (If you don’t, the sermon is posted on our website.) We talked about how Domestic Violence persists in our communities and affects many of us. As Christians, living and working within our communities, this is the type of thing that we get involved with. We help take care of those most hurting.
All throughout the Bible we hear this topsy-turvy message that the first will be last, and the last will be first. That the poor will be lifted up, and the rich cast down. That the ones that you need to take especial care of are the orphans, the widows, the immigrants. As Christians, that is what directs our work: helping to care for the least of these. Sometimes that means helping to bandage them after they have fallen. And sometimes that means going upstream to prevent them from falling in the first place.
Remember: we as a church need to do something differently, because the (capital-C) Church is dying. We are in the position where our old models just flat-out aren’t working anymore. We need to invent new ways of being church. However, we do need some moorings to hold us as we invent new ways of being. And this is one strong mooring of the Christian faith: God cares deeply about the most wounded.
As we keep pondering what we will be in the future, let us keep doing the good work within our communities.