Summer is supposed to be a time of R&R including at the church. A time to reflect, relax… “summertime and the livin’ is easy”. Well, this summer has proven to be one that is slightly more busy than in past years (except for the lightning strike when I had just started, my second day as your pastor in July 2014). And so, like many things that seem just a little askew when they are unexpectedly busy, I got to thinking about how we try and figure out how to do the Sabbath work of relaxing in the arms and Word of God, when relaxation is nowhere in sight.
Our sanctuary front door project gave me the opportunity to reflect. We had raised money through the winter months and hired the talented Gerry Cormier, the same contractor who fabricated and installed our portico columns in the fall of 2014. I was up there on that porch looking at them tearing out the old doors, and I asked one of the workers how things were going. “Easy Peasy”, he said, “Except for the thresholds being out of level, the door frames being out of square, the paint caked into every crevice, and just about everything needing custom measurement, it’s going to be a piece of cake.”
Our spirits, believe it or not, get a little askew just as easily as those things we see around us if we don’t do some regular maintenance. And while each of us is unique in God’s eyes and probably deserves custom measurement different from everyone else, I’d like to invite us to start out with leveling out those things that are just slightly out of whack and doing some necessary maintenance for our souls so that when God comes knocking we can open the door without it getting stuck.
Hope I didn’t mix metaphors there. Bear with me.
It’s all too easy to get down about the world around us and its economic, political, social, technological, and environmental challenges. But we have to remember that while we might wonder how we can handle all that life throws at us, we have a God that wants us to know that we are loved and in fellowship with the people around us. Have we looked around lately and considered – truly considered – the people with whom we live, interact, pass by, or know deeply? We are consistently challenged to think of others in categories of age, race, sex, education, income, geography, and many other “birds of a feather” affiliations.
But one thing we have found since I came to TCC is that our church is bigger than those categories, and our fellowship is one that is found in the world beyond our bright new church doors. Ours is a world of events, circumstances, and actions, and so our neighbors and fellowship should be with folks who are affected by those same events, circumstances, and actions. Maybe “fellowship” is being a neighbor to whomever needs our assistance. Maybe we haven’t thought that way, as some might say, “The world has trouble enough”. This is not biblical; it fosters an ethic of scarcity rather than abundance of compassion and mercy. I don’t know about you, but I have not yet met someone who, when asked, cannot have just a little more love and kindness for others. But we need to be shown the way.
So come and hear how we can re-frame our spiritual lives to be a little less skewed, a little more even, and for us to be able to say “yes” when the world challenges our hearts to be small in generosity. We owe it to God and to our neighbors to be less cynical in this time of change, so come on in for some maintenance and our preaching series Sept. 22 – Oct. 20 and see what it’s about. And then we can say, when folks ask why we come to TCC, “It’s all about keeping it from getting too Easy Peasy.”