Friday, December 06, 2013

Watch this

I'm having a "never saw this coming" moment...actually several of them seemingly coming in waves.  There are moments in everyone's life that, if you could have stepped outside of your stream and looked in on yourself, should have been quite obvious.  The reality is that few are able to step out of the flow that is rapidly ushering us through life, so every once in awhile we come face to face with those moments.  Our lives flowed fairly nicely through Thanksgiving only to land us on the doorstep of Advent where we encountered an obvious reality that had not yet clearly presented itself.  All of a sudden Joanne and I were struck with a reflection that this year, for the first time in 22 years of pastoral artistry, we are not leading others on a journey towards the birth of Christ.  Simply put, we have no church.  For me there is no wrestling with the birth narratives, praying and being led to extract new and timely hope to people clinging to it.  For Joanne, there is no wrestling with music and musicians, praying and being led to extract opportunities to engage the manger in new and fresh ways.
A bit of insider information for you ... This time of the year, for us and countless other pastoral and worshipful types, is the highlight in a year of chasing backside glimpses of God.  For us, for 4 weeks, if we slowed down for it, which we often did, it was as if God paused momentarily, looked back towards us and said "watch this".  Light was brought forth, both figuratively and literally, and we had a front row seat.
This year has all of a sudden become so much different...not bad, but different.  Past years we were spoiled with captive audiences and faithful friends who journeyed alongside of us.  This season our congregation is a new and busy neighborhood.  Our "audience" is, by and large, captive only to their smart phones and head phones.  Our challenge is not figuring out how to light a building.  Our challenge is figuring out how to light a neighborhood ... From the homeless and the alcoholic to the privileged and the workaholic... So many walking in darkness, and they aren't much impressed by my ability to draw fresh meaning from a

story of shepherds.  They do, however, need to see the hope and the light of the manger reflected into their own settings.  So this year, it's Christmas and a church without walls.  We can do this. We can do different.  God can still say "watch this"... and I have a feeling that He will.

No comments: