Sunday’s Scripture ~ Psalm 127:1.
When I was in sixth grade my parents decided to sell our house and build a new house across town. For six months our family of four lived in a two bedroom apartment. I slept on the couch and shared a closet with my brother.
(Not the sleeping on the couch – the sharing the closet with my brother.)
Every Monday through Saturday evening had the same routine:
- Family came home – from work, school, errands, or activities
- Family ate dinner together
- Family loaded into the car to make the three mile drive to see the new house.
Every Monday through Saturday evening for six months.
My father wanted daily visual confirmation of what work had been accomplished. He and my mother made quite an investment in that house; they wanted to see the fruit of their investment from dug footers to the shingled roof to everything in between.
(Like any sixth grader, my biggest concern was that I would have the bigger bedroom. After all…I slept on the couch for six months… I did get the bigger bedroom, but Charlie had the bigger closet. Can’t win ’em all.)
I found those daily pilgrimages to the new house very frustrating. I was not interested in how the house was built; I lacked the patience – or maybe it was the attention – to spot what was new each time we pulled up to the curb or crossed the threshold. My priority was that the house was built. Until then, the daily visits were daily reminders of how much longer I had to wait.
(And waiting is the worst…c’mon November.)
My predisposition remains towards that things are made or completed rather than how they are made or completed…which is probably why God continues to draw me into problem solving situations as well as circumstances where I have to move from A to B without knowing the way forward.
(While a straight line would be the quickest commute – the church world tends to prefer winding paths and loop-de-loops…)
Why the winding paths? Why the loop-de-loops? Why the detours or dead ends? There is one common denominator – people.
Whenever I encounter a roadblock in my yoga practice, I acknowledge that there is a person in my way…and that person is me. If I am afraid of a pose, if I fall out of a pose, if I “fake it till I make it” in a pose rather than applying myself to the process of learning the pose from the ground up – the person standing in the way is me.
Similarly, I believe when the church encounters roadblocks in our problem solving or in moving forward, it is usually because of people. Sometimes it is malicious in nature, but more often than not, we stand in our own way because of fear, uncertainty, and uncooperativeness – with God and with one another. God wants the church – the Body of Christ – to accomplish the work before us – to ensure that we make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. God also wants the church – each church – our church – to be faithful in figuring out how our work is done.
How the work is done and that the work is done is the responsibility of the whole body of Christ at Tuskawilla. Frustration enters in when this responsibility continually falls on the shoulders of a few.
For Tuskawilla UMC to continue in the way that God intends, we must apply ourselves to both the how and the that. And that we does not just refer to the Executive Council, Leadership Team, retired clergy, present small group and ministry leaders, or pastor – that we applies to all of us. Together God wants us to face our fears, to relinquish our uncertainties, and to cooperatively discern and determine our next steps as a congregation. God wants us to speak truth to one another in love so that we do not hinder or block the next steps God desires us to take. And God wants us to take those steps. One after another after another after another.
God has been about the business of building at Tuskawilla for over three and a half decades. God is not finished yet…and I am eager to see the how and that God will shepherd us to and through next.
Prayer: “Here I raise mine Ebenezer; hither by thy help I’m come; and I hope, by thy good pleasure, safely to arrive at home. Jesus sought me when a stranger, wandering from the fold of God; he, to rescue me from danger, interposed his precious blood.”* Amen.
*”Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” The United Methodist Hymnal 400.