All this fall season we’ve been asking the question, “Why Church?” and hearing from each other a whole host of reasons. Community, comfort, challenge, inspiration, service, connection, the responses all center around a common theme. It reminds me of the children’s nursery rhyme about church. You know the one where you lace your fingers together, and fold your hands with your thumbs lined up next to each other? Here’s the church and here’s the steeple, (index fingers pointing up together like an arrow) Open the door and see all the people! (Thumbs open up, and hands turn inside out, while fingers, sill laced together, wave!) Such a simple way to show a plain truth – more than a building or place, the church is people. People laced together make the church. A place both reaching up and open wide, people drawn together, moving and alive.
Yes, it’s people holding together, standing together, joined like interlaced fingers of the open hands of one body that make the church. Holding together takes some effort, but each one joined adds to the strength of the whole…individuals laced together, hold each other up, and make it harder to pull apart. Turned inside out the steepled hands reveal a happy surprise, all those waving people, working together.
Ok so the metaphor’s gone far enough, you get the picture. It’s the coming together that makes church, and the opening up to a surprise. We’re in the midst of some real challenges here at this church, some that came as surprises, and in unexpected ways. We did not know that accepting a gift of artwork would lead to offering temporary shelter to a refugee family, and how this came about, with missed communication has strained connections. Opening up, listening and learning, from one another’s concerns, this energy holds us together. And we are the stronger for it. What makes the church is people holding together, each one an important part of the whole. And in these storm filled, tumultuous times what connects us becomes all the more important.
As this year draws to a close, as we gather round Thanksgiving tables and look to begin anew with Advent’s promises so bright with hope peace joy and love, may gratitude draw us together, and lift us up. So much to be thankful for, including all, the goodness and grace of people together we call church.
With gratitude and love,
From Ladera Life – November 2017