Jan 12 2017

A Community of Reverence

Dear Friends,

There is a woman who lives in an eldercare home not far from here. For many years she tended to the young people growing up in this church. She knew them all: conversing with them, playing with them, listening to them, encouraging them, feeding them, perceiving their pain, applying the balm of love and ,when they needed it, correcting them. Those whom she mentored bear the fruit of that mentoring. Countless adults who were raised here in this congregation can testify to the impact of her loving care and her deep interest in them. Hers wasn’t an “official” job. It was better than that: it was the sharing of her very self, humbly and purposefully.

I give thanks to God for my friend. It seems to me that faith communities can’t really be communities without folk like her. All of us need people who will love us this way if we are going to thrive; people full of the life and love that we come to know in Jesus. We have had, and still have, many such people in our St. Andrew’s community. They are the ones who have taught me so much about faithfulness.

Today my friend is in Memory Care. Even as her capacities for full engagement have receded, I’ve been able to rejoice in the ways that stories and names have triggered for her cherished memories and celebrations of life. “Oh, Scott”, she will say, and we will laugh and we will cry.

It is unlikely that she will be able to return physically to our church building for worship or Sunday School ever again. This is part of her anguish, and my own. We have known and experienced ourselves most fully in our community of faith, in what we have encountered in others, in what we have discovered flowing from within ourselves. Christian discipleship is a way of life; it is so much about presence.

My friend’s absence hurts. What happens when any of us can no longer do important things the same way? Does the church just “move on”? Of course not. Surely there is a way, or even manifold ways, that we can embody church outside of our building!

Let’s visit, and make calls, singing and worshiping creatively with people where they are. Let’s be present with them. We can encourage and empower our young people, some of our best ambassadors, to fill the lives of our seniors with renewed joy. We can use our technology to creatively share messages and testimonies and cherished memories. I often take pictures from the church with me when I go to people. Let’s make sure that the very people who have taught us “one anothering” are a key part of our 150th anniversary celebration – rejoicing in what we have learned from them!

This is what it can mean to be a community of reverence.

With Love,

Pastor Scott’s Archived E-pistles