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, February 04, 2008

Gigantic Weekend...

If you have a part in Bethany Community Church, you'll know that this past weekend was our last worship service in our wonderful chapel, which has served this church well for 29 years. I was privileged to share from Deuteronomy on the power and importance of remembering. We spent some time remembering saints who had gone before us here at Bethany, including the founders from 1916, the previous Pastor and his administrative assistant, the people who mortgaged their homes to buy the space we'd occupied for 29 years, and more.

What I said was very real and for me, very heartfelt: Those who have gone before me, before us, have carried a torch faithfully and passed it on. Now, at this moment in history, the torch is in my hands, is in our hands. The great reality that others have gone before me have made me more intent to carry the torch faithfully, and so the weekend ended up being about the importance of seeing ourselves placed in the larger story of history as much as anything else. This makes me profoundly grateful to pastor a church that's been around for 92 years. We're not hip - not emergent - not post-modern. There's no adjective on the front end of the word church to define us...we're just trying to be church; the visible presence of Christ for one another, our neighbors, our world. We don't do it perfectly; but we surely have the baton in our hands, as was evidenced yesterday by the profound outpourings of gratitude and emotion evidenced in the memory cards people created. I'm hoping to compile those into a book later in the year, because we all need markers to remember how God has been faithful.

So there were four times of saying good-bye to worship in the chapel - four times carrying a light across the street to the new building - four times reading a benediction from Ephesians which brought me to tears.

And then, already feeling drained, I went home and watched the super-bowl on tape, having warned the evening congregation not to say a single word to me about the game. It was after 10 when I watched the final three minutes, and that one-handed catch after Manning escaped certain sacking had me screaming, scaring the cat, and probably waking the neighbors. Are you kidding me? I was hoping that the Giants would knock of the 'not as good as everyone says they are' Pats, and sure enough... it happened! I was running on adrenalin until after midnight.

A Gigantic Day... to kick off a gigantic week as we move into new facilities this coming Sunday!


At 4/2/08 22:25, Blogger ryan said...

Thank you for the reminder of the significance of those who have gone before is easy, and tempting, in our individualistic society to think we are paving the way, that we have it "right," and to do away with the past...That is both dangerous and un-biblical. Thank you for helping us remember.

I am reminded of Joshua 4 and the command to take "memorial stones" out of the Jordan, so as to not forget what the Lord has done. Let us hold on to those stones, and not forget what our God has done.

At 5/2/08 15:03, Anonymous Kristi said...

I greatly appreciated your message this past Sunday, and your blog entry. One more thing that makes this a huge week - aside from moving into our new facility - is that Saturday is caucus day! Thousands of people will be casting their votes for their presidential pick and there are a lot of delegates at stake. I hope that in all of the excitement about this huge move for Bethany, our people will remember to keep the election process and the candidates in their prayers.

Oh, and Obama '08!


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