Today is my dad’s birthday. We had a wonderful time celebrating last night with family and friends, but I thought I’d put up a quick blog here today too. Unfortunately, the camera is at home and so I don’t have any pictures to share from last night. I did find this one from his birthday a couple of years ago. I’d say we both look more or less the same today as we did then…
Happy Birthday, buddy! Thanks for all you have taught me and continue to teach me about what it means to be a man. I love you bunches!
Yesterday I shared some thoughts that had kept “We Are the Church” running through my head for a good 24 hours or so. I have continued to reflect on it and thought I’d share an additional insight that my daughter helped me see. h was in church with me at both Easton and Southern Heights on Sunday. As we drove from Easton to Southern Heights we sang the refrain of “We Are the Church” over and over again.
Later in the day, without any prompting from me I heard h singing, “You are the church, you are the church, you are the church together.”
It was adorable to hear her singing this song, but her choice of lyrics really struck me. Isn’t this how we so often function in the church? We think of programs or ministries that someone should be doing. We make suggestions of the things staff should address. We encourage other people to act and serve and give in ways that we think would be good. We often forget the “I am the church” and focus on “You are the church.”
I trust that h’s rendition of this song was more about a toddler’s developing memory than it was her theology or ecclesiology, but I do hope that we will all be mindful of the fact that “We are the Church Together.”
I am the Church, You are the Church, We are the Church together. All who follow Jesus, all around the world, yes we’re the Church together.
If you’re at all familiar with that hymn I’ll be curious to know how long that refrain sticks in your head after reading those words. They’ve been playing through my head for much of the last 24 hours.
Yesterday we concluded a 3 week sermon series at Easton and Southern Heights called “Belonging” through which we looked at what it means as United Methodist Christians to pledge support to a faith community with our prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness.
At the conclusion of both worship services each congregation received new members who pledged to be a part of their respective faith community by contributing their prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness to the good of God’s work in and through that community. In the midst of this sermon series and the celebrations of yesterday it has been an incredible gift to watch both of these congregations function as the church.
- Care has been extended to a single mom recovering from serious surgery.
- Care has been extended to a woman who recently tried to take her own life.
- A special collection of money and needed items has been collected for victims of the storms in Alabama.
- Care has been extended to a family as their wife, mother, grandmother and friend has struggled with and ultimately lost her battle with cancer.
- The HS graduation of young people has been celebrated.
- An 18 year old young woman has been baptized.
- Food has been collected for and distributed to the hungry.
Where have you recently seen the church existing as the church?
In seminary our friend Joey shared a recipe with us for hummus. We made it A LOT for a few years, but really haven’t for awhile. No reason really, it just fell out of our rotation.
We decided to fire up the blender this weekend and to mix up a batch. We look forward to enjoying it in the coming days with celery, cucumber, and peppers. I sampled it before putting it in the fridge to chill this afternoon and it’s gonna be good!
- 4-6 cloves of fresh garlic
- 1 fresh lemon (juice and pulp)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 can of chick peas (drained)
- 1 can of white beans (undrained)
- 1/2 cup tahini
- 2 tablespoons honey (optional)
- salt to taste (optional)
- cayenne pepper (optional)
- In a blender grind together the garlic, lemon, & olive oil.
- Add the chick peas & grind some more.
- Add the white beans (with their liquid) and blend until the whole mixture appears to have a smooth consistent texture.
- Add the tahini & honey (if using) and stir by hand.
- Add salt & cayenne pepper as desired.
For what it’s worth, my preferred method is with the cayenne pepper and without the honey.
I live in Lawrence, but will soon be living in Tonganoxie.
I am the pastor of Easton and Southern Heights UMCs, but will soon be the pastor of Tonganoxie UMC.
I am in the process of preparing to pack and leave one home while thinking about what we need to settle in to our new home.
I am in the process of trying to end my time well with the congregations I currently serve while trying to begin well with my new congregation.
This in-between time is weird. I feel it in the physical and emotional realities of seeking to be fully engaged in multiple communities. The in-between isn’t necessarily a bad thing, just a weird one. My experience of these weeks is that in the in-between time moves both slowly and quickly, that it is both draining and energizing, that it is both scary and exciting. I find myself feeling extremely grateful for the love of family, the support of colleagues, and the presence of God in this in-between.
What experiences of the in-between have you had (or are you having)?
Lawrence First had a celebration last night for their capital campaign. Heather went early to get things set up and to rehearse with one of the bands that was providing some music for the celebration. h and I came later.
h knew where we were headed when we left home, but as we drove across the K-10 bypass and the West Campus came into view on the horizon h shrieked with delight, “My Church! Yay, my church! We’re going to my church. I get to see my friends at church. Yaaayyyy!”
Oh that we would all be so excited to gather together with our friends at church.
In this address Lovett Weems, Director of the Lewis Center for Leadership at Wesley Theological Seminary in DC, calls for individual congregations as well as denominational institutions to “reset the baseline.” If we don’t reset and we remain committed to the status quo, Weems believes the coming developments will be catastrophic. Give it 15 minutes and watch the video. Then let me know what you think.
What do you understand him to mean by “reset the baseline?” What do you think this might look like in your particular congregation?