Soon after moving to Bloomington, we were confirmed in the Anglican Mission. It was a wonderful day, and it happened immediately prior to our friend Fr. Greg Lynn’s ordination to the priesthood.
We have a wonderful long-distance community in Peoria’s AMiA plant, Epiphany. Chris and Elisa Marchand, dear friends from the Chicago area are co-planting a missional community there with Greg and his wife Alicia.
What a wonderful gift to have kindred spirits embarking upon the same journey so close!
|Chris, Elisa, Father Greg, Alicia, Nate & Me
at our confirmation/Greg’s ordination!
Nate and I with a lot of prayer have wanted to take a VERY slow approach to this whole church planting-thing. We want to be able to give the community what they need and what can bring them closer to Christ, not impose our idea of what the church plant will look like on a community that we have been detached from for five years. This is a problem I think the Christian church gets stuck in a lot. Telling a community what they need before hearing what that community has to say/where they are.
(Before I get bombarded by Christians telling me the community needs Christ, let’s have that just be a given. We all do, or Nate and I wouldn’t be giving our life to this calling).
So right now what this looks like is a foundational group of people meeting twice a month, (soon to move to every week) at our apartment, discussing the word, our relationships with Christ, uplifting each other, and brainstorming on how we can bring Christ to this community and be Christ to this community. Very soon we will be embarking upon community outreach and eventually we will start meeting at a space, (as we are growing out of our dining room quite quickly. Intimacy is great within a missional community, but I don’t want anybody to be able to tell that I wasn’t able to shower that day, as being a Mommy doesn’t always warrant a shower! :o) ) and having a full service as well as a weekly community group/bible study.
Exciting, scary, and an impossible environment to not be completely dependent upon Christ.
One thing we are praying for is that God would put on someone’s heart to come alongside us in ministry here in Bloomington-Normal, in a co-leadership role. It is exciting to be patiently waiting for that, not knowing who that person will be or what specific gifts they will offer. But as God has proven so clearly over and over again, He will be faithful.
This church thing if you have never been a part of it (or if you have), is intended to be this beautiful, messy group of people, growing together, leaning on each other and loving each other so much that they can’t let each other stay where they are at, they must propel each other further on in betterment, in hope and beauty and love, to become what we were created to be.
In propelling each other it should catch onto someone else, and someone else, and someone else.
And then our world theoretically shouldn’t look the way it does.
But there is something in me that won’t allow me to stop looking at what this world can be if we allow the Hope of the Risen Christ to permeate itself through us and to others.
I think the Church (which I claim to be a part of, I still believe in the Christian Church despite it’s faults and it’s NUMEROUS injustices, I apologize for these, and for the part I may play in them, but I still identify myself with it) forgets about this leaning, and dependence on one another, that we were created to be in community, to need one another, to change the world together.
Scoff if you must, but I adore So You Think You Can Dance (this is not as much of a change of subject as you might think, stick with me). This dance to Coldplay’s Fix You really hits home for me, especially where I am at in my Faith journey right now.
*I am not about to get into what the words to that song mean, I have my thoughts, but that isn’t really what this is about.
I think this is how we are supposed to look in the church relationally.
We move in sync at certain times, and at others we show our individual gifts for the community.
And sometimes we are utterly unable to move, unless we are lifted by one another.
I am quite fond of the 45 second mark where the “jumping” begins.
Sometimes it feels like in the church or in our relationship with Christ that we are doing such futile things in a season of waiting, that we might as well just be jumping up and down.
But that jumping up and down is leading to something amazing, and may we all jump with such vigor and intensity. . .
watch and see what I mean.
peace to you,