The following is my "Intern's Message" for the July church newsletter.
For the last few weeks Chris and I have gathered with others at the Phinney Neighborhood Association (PNA) to watch World Cup matches on the giant screen set up there. Doors opened at 6:30am on most mornings, yet people streamed in, filling the little basement room to the brim with the colors of their countries. Red, white, and blue were popular, of course, but here in our nation – and neighborhood – of immigrants there were also yellow-jerseyed South Africans, Parisians decked out in bleu, sky-striped Argentines, Dutch orangemen, even a white-shirted Slovenian here and there. (Chris and I, we admit, were decked out proudly in a deep green, for our adopted side of Mexican futbolistas.)
It is an extraordinary thing to see people being gathered together, to see their different-colored strands of life side by side. Yet God is doing just this sort of thing at St John United all the time. Our diversity may not lie in the colors of our flags or the colors of our skin – not yet, anyway – but our community is still one marked by many strands, many generations, many vocations, many gifts, many stories. Through word and meal, God gathers our many strands and weaves us together, that we might be a sign of God’s reconciling love for all the world.
Recently I have seen this happening in some pretty amazing ways. In our church garden people have gathered to work and play, to bless and to plant, to sing and – at upcoming neighborhood potlucks – to eat. At a brewpub down the street, people have gathered for Theology Pub nights where we share our stories of faith, our sources of hope, our experiences of divine love – and where every once in a while we even pull the bartender into the conversation. On “U2 Sunday,” people of different generations and different musical backgrounds gathered to sing a few new songs, drawn from the hymnbook of the FM radio, the culmination of several weeks of study and practice together.
What wondrous weaving will God do among us in the weeks and months to come? Some clues can be found in this newsletter, in upcoming events planned and publicized. Other clues can be found in your own heart and head, in the hopes and dreams you have for this place. Over the next several weeks there will be a variety of opportunities for conversation about what God is doing in this congregation and how we can invite more people to be a part of it. Please join us in whatever way you are able, that your strand, too, might be ever more a part of God’s great tapestry, woven from our life together.
May God continue to make and re-make us throughout this season of extra-ordinary time.