Grace and Peace to you.
I preached and led a retreat on prayer and poetry at the Presbyterian church in Shepherdstown, WV this last weekend. It’s a lovely bunch of people. They explored fearlessly and shared deeply. They inspired me, not by the certitude of their beliefs but in the depth of their presence for God, for one another and for whoever walked in the door. Several members of the church spoke of how they were close to giving up on church till they found that one. A “church of last resort,” they say. There are churches like that.
We hear much about the decline of the neighborhood church in the shadow of big, rich, megaplex churches. Never mind that. Here’s the good news. Real communities of authentic people who want to grow in love and wonder are thriving here and there. If you are searching, don’t give up. Honor your hunger for the Holy. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. There are communities—most of them small—where you can be yourself, seek God, serve justice and find companions on the way. They are doing good work. Give thanks.
And be aware you may be a “person of last resort.” You may pass by someone who is ready to give up on the human race—or maybe just their part in it—or give up on God, until they meet you. This is nothing heroic, just part of what we’re here to do: to be light and life for each other. To be deeply present, and a source of hope. We are given the gifts to shine with the warmth of heaven, by our love to attract people to God and gather them to each other. Maybe that’s what it means to be “fishers of people.” Don’t give up. Keep seeking. Go fish.
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