Church in and of itself can be messy at times. Throw in a pandemic in the mix and that mess gets a little deeper and slightly wider. As a pastor I’ll get asked “Does so and so go to your church still?” and my answer most of the time is “I don’t know?” It’s true, I can’t see who’s always watching our stream. Where before, I could notice if someone wasn’t around several weeks in a row and could reach out. Sunday was a day you could gather, laugh, pray with one another, and check-in. You could evaluate in practical ways how your values are playing out in real-time. There are times where I log off on a Sunday and feel unsure how we’re making an impact in our culture. But then, there are sacred moments that remind me of the Divine interacting in and around our community. Here are a few.
A text from someone brand new to the area who also stumbled on our feed, and wanted prayer as they begin chemotherapy. They needed help and support and didn’t have many friends to ask for prayer. And our response is, “we see you and we can help,” That’s a sacred moment.
Then, a message from someone who’s walking through their own exploration of faith and queerness and stumbled on our church’s stream. They say they’ve found a place where they can belong on the journey, regardless of where it takes them. That’s a sacred moment.
Also, we have received email alerts that someone donated for the first time to the Neighborhood church. When I reach out to say, “Thank you for your support and how did you hear about us?” They reply with “I am deeply moved by Neighborhood church’s call to further social and racial justice as well as your focus on inclusivity.” That’s a sacred moment.
A call from someone who’s feeling alone and in a hard place and connecting them with someone else who has lived through that same experience. They sobbed. That’s a sacred moment.
A DM from someone who’s unsure about their view of God but loves how we’re speaking on how the belonging is in the person and not the agreement (dogma/policies ). That’s a sacred moment.
To officiate the wedding of a student I once had in youth group during a pandemic. That’s a sacred moment.
Though we can’t see eye to eye every week, I can assure you friends, these values are being played out in hundreds of sacred spaces.
There are good and beautiful things all around us, through us, and in us.
Thank you to everyone who has sent a text or message sharing what they love and/or need. Thank you to everyone who supports the church financially. This sacred work can continue to happen because of your faithfulness and dedication to see even more people stumble into this community. All of it is making a difference.
I’ve never believed in or loved this thing we call church more in my life.
I’m thankful to be in this mess with all of you,