It was ironic when my coach told me that the anniversary gift for a 10 year anniversary was tin.
Strong and resilient. Yet bendable.
So – it bends and doesn’t break.
Just like us.
If you’d told me 10 years ago that on our 10th birthday as a church I’d be sad on my drive in to work, the only reason I would be able to fathom sadness would be if I knew it would be my last year at West. Other than that, if we actually “made it” for 10 years and were actually a viable church, I would have sworn that I’d be elated. Uncontainable joy!
But that’s not how it went down yesterday.
The sermon was prerecorded so we could deliver your gifts. So that pressure was off.
We had a plan, maps configured, etc. so there was not a ton of last minute stress.
So I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t shake the feeling of sadness and heaviness that just seemed to loom in the air.
As I thought through all the components I realized, “Well, why wouldn’t I feel sad? We can’t “be together” really, we have no clear path for what Sunday mornings might look like. There is a tremendous amount of importance (aka stress) around finding the right ways for you to connect and be able to be fed spiritually, while trying to maintain safety and integrity as an organization. I worry about the staff as COVID has made many of their jobs double or triple in responsibility. And how does one keep morale high in such trying circumstances?” My mind went through all these things and more until I arrived at the office.
As the hundreds of little tin buckets sat waiting to be filled I was reminded that each bucket represents a human being that calls West their “home.”
Ten years ago there were not hundreds of buckets on a table, there were 40. And over the years 40 grew to over 400. In hindsight, many of the 500+ Sundays that I drove to the high school had their own moments of stress. However, each and every time, both good and several not so good, God used our worship experiences for transformation.
Because we always sought God.
Not personal gain.
Not “atta-boys” or “atta-girls” because something was executed/delivered/performed well.
And we continue to do that today.
Many of you on my visits yesterday asked, “What? When? How?”
And sadly, I didn’t have a lot of answers.
As I drove through Iredell County I noticed many churches with full parking lots.
We just do not think that is a safe alternative.
But we are working diligently to try to figure out safe ways to gather together.
Mike and Suzy Cuddy at Ghostface Beer Lab have offered that space on Tuesday evenings and you will be hearing about that VERY SOON! So – we will find opportunities to gather together in person safely.
In the meantime, I’d like us to all remember to keep the main thing the main thing.
We can bend but not break because there is a power far greater than ours that carries us in and through all things.
This was from my morning devotion and I found it very timely.
Words by Richard Rohr . . .
“Jesus tells Peter, “Peter, you must be sifted like wheat. And once you have recovered, then you, in your turn, can strengthen your companions” (Luke 22:31–32). Until there has been a journey through suffering, I don’t believe that we have true healing authority. We don’t have the ability to lead anybody anyplace new unless we have walked it ourselves to some degree. In general, we can only lead people on the spiritual journey as far as we ourselves have gone. We simply can’t talk about it beyond that. That’s why the best thing we can do for people is to stay on the journey ourselves. We transform people to the degree we have been transformed. When we can somehow be compassion, not just talk about compassion; when we can be healed and not just talk about healing, then we are, as Henri Nouwen said so well, “wounded healers,” but not before.”