What a difference a week makes!
Last Sabbath it was winter, 40s and rainy. This Sabbath will be high summer, heat wave baby!
Last Sabbath the Parsonage was full of Baskette chaos, all theology books and doll clothes. This Sabbath, it will be full of grateful addicts in recovery and their allies, making all things ready for our first 3 residents moving into our new sober house, Davis House, next week!
The walls have been freshly painted, a new full bathroom is being installed, your old furniture and new linens are moving into the house that will be a home and a blessing for them--and for everyone with whom they are in relationship.
Isn't it funny who God sends us, Beloved? Who arrives in our beloved community needing shelter, needing care, and finding it--and then turning their gratitude into Kingdom-work and conferring the blessing on others?
I think about the people I met and came to love deeply back in 2003 when I arrived at First Church: the hardy Scots elderly ladies, the preachers-kid-new-college-grads, the vanguard of queer folk. And I think about the variety of other folks who have found us since then--not always people we expected.
And it makes me wonder: who's next? Who is God going to send us next, so that we can really look like the Kingdom of Heaven, through and through? And are we ready for them? Is there any hammering, painting, prepping we need to do? Any comfortable furniture we need to move in, metaphorically speaking, so they have a soft place to sit and rest? Or more importantly: any uncomfortable furniture we need to move out?
Is there any way we need to prepare our own hearts so that we can not just include, but embrace? Not just tolerate (who came up with "tolerance" as a positive designation, anyhow?), but welcome into the heart of all things?
For the next 4 weeks or so we'll be talking about radical welcome, the Kingdom of Heaven, and our own work in getting readier to be a community of Christ that is a safe place for people who might be underrepresented among us: like trans people, working-class people, people of color.
One thing that makes me proudest of our beloved community is how we don't rest on our laurels--we are always willing to go further up and further in, to challenge our own assumptions and move deeper into God's hope for us.
Kicking off the Radical Welcome series is a preacher I'm very excited about. Rev. Mykal Slack is a good friend of Rev. Jeff's from Union Seminary, an ordained minister in the Metropolitan Community Church and a person of joy. He will preach to us of a place "beyond inclusion," a place that when you get there, feels goooooood. All the time.
Jeff Banks, on this Recovery Sunday, is our able liturgist! Mykal and I will co-celebrate communion. Bring your donations for the food pantry--the need is great! And we will bless your gifts on the communion table.
After church: Mykal will lead us in a conversation about our hopes and dreams for the next iteration of our beloved community--and what might be getting in our way of moving forward.
Beloved, thanks for all your prayers of support and encouragement for us through this week--it was a VERY big move for us in more ways than one. We feel very blessed and held by you, our church.
Have a great heat wave! See you soon,