Pastoral Musings from Rain City

it's about 'what is church?' it's about whether 'emergent' is the latest Christian trend or something more substantial. it's musing on what it means to live the city, in America, in community, intergenerationally, at this time in history...

Monday, September 25, 2006

Showing Up

I was reminded of the same vital truth several times this weekend, through attendance at a funeral, and then a wedding, and then again through both the content of the teaching on Sunday and the experience of it: keep showing up. Some events I wanted to attend. Others I attended reluctantly. Either way, there’s this calling to be present that runs through the story God is writing in each of our lives, and when we make commitments to show up consistently, we will eventually look back and see that it’s the showing up – the being present – that is soil in which growth and transformation occurs.

It seems that the Bible talks about the need to show up at several key venues:
Show up with the Word.
Show up in connection with others
Show up in using the gifts God has given you.

I’m going to devote the next three entries to these three topics and hopefully share something of how this basic work of showing up has been valuable in my own life. This weekend, when I showed up at a wedding of some very good friends, I was tired. Yet, once there, I realized that it was this community of friends, with their great capacity for joy and celebration, laughter and heart-felt expressions of emotion, which was just what I needed. The laughter of others filled a place in my heart, lightened my load, and refreshed me in ways I never would have anticipated. Think of how often we miss blessing, simply because of failure to show up.

Yes, showing up also means risking that pain will happen instead, and sometimes it will. But if we become governed by fear of pain, or conflict, or rejection; if our paradigm of involvement is so narrow that it’s predicated on all our emotional, physical, spiritual stars aligning before we’ll fully enter in, I’d argue that our lives will quickly become very very small. So instead, I’m learning to risk showing up – time after time, in the continuity of relationships, believing that we can’t be in the story God is writing unless we’re where He wants us to be.


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