We are to cultivate life-giving ways of spending time with others — finding unexpected ways of being with people, and pursuing new ways of coming together.
You may not remember the first articulation of this Priority & Practice, but the wording has changed slightly since I initially presented it to the congregation. Back in January, my focus was on the disconnection, weariness, and loneliness we experienced as a result of the necessary COVID restrictions. I wrote of how we felt that way (and many still feel that way) because we are created in the image of our Trinitarian God – created by a Community to be in community, spiritually and physically. Barriers to that community – isolation, social distancing, masking – chafe communal existence, even as they help preserve our lives.
The Lord calls us to cultivate creativity in such times, “consider[ing] how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24-25).
Although this initial focus remains important, the Lord is expanding my understanding of “Creative Connecting” in two additional ways.
First, Creative Connecting is a call to consider ways in which we can initiate and pursue relationships with people beyond the Immanuel community. Yes, I’m talking about evangelism here; evangelism in the sense of being alert and responsive to opportunities to join people in their chariots (remember Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts 8), to follow Jesus into unexpected places (like the party at a tax collector’s house in Luke 5), to move out of our comfort zones into the comfort zones of others, with the goal of relationships that reveal Jesus.
Second, the word “Creative” is to be understood not merely as “innovative” or “unusual,” but also with attention to its root meaning: create. Every time we connect with another person or group, the Father is present creating life. I’m reminded of Aslan singing Narnia into existence in C.S. Lewis’ The Magician’s Nephew – life springs up around him, wherever he steps. Since we carry the presence of God within us into each encounter, the Spirit’s creative song also is present, and we are invited to give our attention to what is coming alive in that moment.
I’ll say more about this on Sunday as we continue our “Being the Church” series.
Update on the October 17 Groundbreaking Ceremony
Chloellen Miller and Bob Mann, co-chairs of the Move Team, recently had the opportunity to meet with our architect and general contractor on the building site. In addition to seeing the encouraging progress of the construction (take a look at the most recent drone video from Brian Byers), they realized that the site is not safe for walking. As a result, we have decided on a different celebration of this important milestone for the Mission Outpost. On October 17, our wardens, co-chairs, clergy, and a few intercessors will join with Bishop John and Meg Guernsey, John Recny (Owner, HLR Architects), Tom Nicholson (Owner, Hammerhead Construction), and Jeff Zavalanski (Project Superintendent) for an onsite groundbreaking liturgy at 1pm. John, Tom and Jeff will join us for our Sunday worship service earlier that same morning. The following Sunday, October 24, we will have a reception at Beville immediately after the service, and show the video of the ceremony. You are all invited to the reception!
This is one example of Creative Connecting in action.
I look forward to being with you on Sunday.
Your Pastor in Christ,
P.S. Remember that our Blessing of the Animals is this Sunday, October 03. We’ll start praying for the pets at 3pm at the Andrew Leitch Park soccer fields. And thanks to all who responded to the request for volunteers!