Monday, September 29, 2014

Pack the House: Aftermath

Before I get rolling, I just want to offer our most heartfelt thanks to all that came to see what we're about.  It was a great event and we were blessed to be able to share our ministry with so many friends and family.  You guys are amazing!


This is my second attempt at this today.  I wrote a rather lengthy, heartfelt piece earlier, but as I'm learning in my old age; there is a certain beauty and power in leaving some things left unsaid.  God knows.  I'm getting better at letting that be the defining factor in my actions and words; as well at times, of a lack of action and words.  This is actually something that has been on my mind and heart a lot as of late.  I share a lot of what goes on at Grace and Heathen Church.  I think I can say with confidence that it really isn't so much about, "Look at us!" as it is, "Look at what God is doing!"  There is also a desire to share simply because this place makes me so happy.  My calling, who I am, and who I hope to be have been realized in a place few others, if any, would have wanted.  Lastly, I do rather like sharing with distant family and friends what we're doing because I love the interaction that follows.  However, I am growing increasingly weary spiritually of my incessant Facebook updates about Grace, Heathen Church, and the adventures that come along with it.  I will have more to say on this later.

So what does this have to do with this particular piece?  Not much and everything all at once.  I shared it simply to show where my heart and head are at as I write what I am about to share; perhaps more for my benefit than others.  All I know is that I am in a very happy, very content place this morning.  God knows :)

I have seen a lot of bad stuff in churches; it comes with the territory.  We are a broken creation trying to "work out our faith with fear and trembling" in a broken world.  We make mistakes, we hurt people, we make asses of ourselves, and we generally have a tendency to look no different than the world outside that we proclaim needs us so badly.  But in all that, the heartaches, the disappointments, and the shame, I myself have only ever witnessed a single, catastrophic failure of the Church.  

This involved the treatment of a homeless man who dared to enter a sanctuary for worship during the Christmas season.  What I had written this morning was a more detailed account of that, but in the end it just wasn't right.  I feared that it came off as too much of a "look at us as compared to them", which was not what I had intended.  After all, I am a product of that church, so perhaps it is responsible for more than one catastrophic failure or victory, depending upon one's perspective (lol).  Besides victory or defeat, no matter how catastrophic or great, often proves fleeting.  I am also ever aware of that.

All of this to say, last night was a victory and not for the reasons you might expect.  It was wonderful to see so many new faces last night, folks that stepped out in faith and perhaps way outside their comfort zone to "Come and see."  Which is really what last night was about.  Heathen Church has to be experienced to be understood.  By all accounts; mission accomplished.

However, it was something else that put it all into perspective, something unexpected, but not unexpected.  (I seem to be a riddle wrapped inside an enigma today.  Or perhaps just simply contradictory in my contrarian-ness).  I wrote the other day about the metric, the visible indicator that would tell me that Heathen Church and Grace were working; patients becoming caregivers.  And while I continue to stand by and will certainly continue to work towards that standard; today, I think perhaps I was wrong.  It's certainly a part of it, but only a part of something far bigger.  As a matter of fact, I had my paradigm (hate the overuse of that word) entirely flipped.

In a place where people are incessantly asked, "Do you really believe in the things that we proclaim?", I had forgotten that in a faith and a life where we chase the unseen and immeasurable, that it would be the unseen and immeasurable that would define us in the words of a trembling, crying, homeless woman:

"I have never felt so loved."

God wins.

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