October 15, 2019
Social media can be a blessing and a curse. Yet, I find it a great medium. I use it as an interactive journal to record my thoughts. What I write often presents as a knot that God gives, knots that won't easily go away because they are pregnant with hope and tied-up possibility. I hold onto them for the life they represent.
Today, this entry came up on Facebook for October 2015, a vision for Plymouth and the church universal I scratched from my spirit.
I'm in the throes of imagining church in a different way. Can we imagine prioritizing the planning of our buildings to include hygiene stations for the homeless, so they can shower and wash their clothes? Can we have a plan in place to immediately hide a person and their family if they are caught in the net of domestic violence, until they are able to access resources? Even a few hours makes a difference.
Will we incorporate Black Lives Matter concerns and anti-racism in worship, in the vision and purpose statements, and in our daily lives, even if we are not of color? Can we imagine using under-utilized space for community gardens, offering fresh vegetables to neighborhoods locked in food deserts? Will we consider it a spiritual matter to reduce our carbon footprint, and to do right by the earth? Will we make space in leadership for our elders and our children, for those who identify other than cisgendered and heterosexual, for those who are differently-abled or mentally ill?
Many consider the non-negotiables of good church to be a cross, an altar, the elements of communion, etc. What if these aspirations were held in such high regard, as elements we cannot do without? I would love to say, "Church, we didn't purchase a new communion table because we wanted to include another shower for the homeless and begin our microloan program for entrepreneurs."
Folks are not as disinterested in church as one might think. They are disinterested in club-mentality churches and deaf, irrelevant worship. They are disinterested in watching church folk stroke their collective egos, while expressing "evangelism" as asking others to participate in stroking that ego, too. Where is our fire? While we wrap ourselves in different versions of red tape and intricate processes, the Spirit is moving to those who know how easy it is to live into a new thing.
Dreams and visions are as important as what develops from them. This doesn't have to be the plan or a part of it. God's spirit is flowing in many places and if Plymouth chooses another path, the vision will be picked up elsewhere. However, let us dream and find the knot of common vision to which we can hold on and which will hold onto us. We are at a place of such abundance! Catch hold of the knot tied by the Spirit. May we do so with joy and grace for one another. --Rev. Dr. Kelle Brown