As we know, our faithful relationships are of the essentials of church. Whatever else happens around them is to be in support of our striving to live the Great Commandment. On Monday evenings, the group that gathers with Hillary Coleman and Steve Clagett to study, pray, and reflect on the matters of economics do so in and through their faith. There is clearly an atmosphere of faithful expectation as the relationships of the group nurture and challenge and educate each and all. There is also a hopeful want for action to move toward a more just and beloved community and world. This sets their sights on relationships beyond themselves and their group as they are called to service of others. This past Monday, the group invited guest speakers, including two men who were former employees of Walmart and are now assisting current employees to know their basic employee rights. Their courage to act on behalf of others is admirable. It is also a product of their faith as they have experienced their own and other’s suffering in the workplace. Throughout the telling of their stories, each, over and again, referenced their faith, prayer for answers and guidance, and trust and hope in God.
Imagine the many people, the world full of people, praying on this day and in the evening to come. The two gentlemen referenced the many workers at their old job site who arrive in the parking lot, turn off their cars, and sit and pray to make it through another shift. Meanwhile, a couple people are urged to lead a group at a church many miles away, and in doing so find themselves made aware and compelled to act in whatever way they can out of compassion to support and make life better for those praying in the parking lot. Relationships. Drawn together with our “neighbors” as we all pray to the one God who often answers prayers through our faithful seeking and action. At our best, we are not turned in on ourselves (which is sin), we are turned inside out with God’s love. That is Church!
Monday nights’ group is one of many such examples at All Pilgrims. Night Song, every second Sunday, welcomes local, acoustic artists to play their music and share their stories. It is a wonderful and moving experience. It is a great place to enjoy music, and to be present as a relational gift in ministry to those who come and visit. It is about positioning ourselves for relationships!
Our yard transformation project is another front-burner activity. The opening of our front yard is an opening of our congregational life to the community in a new and expanding way. Financial support to make this happen is less about grass and rock and design; it is more about who we are called to be amidst a community that includes many who are seeking a safe and Holy space for sanctuary – visit our Indiegogo site. It is about relationships.
At a recent Night Song performance, after another terrific time, I spoke to a young woman who had never been to our church. With a quiet voice, she confessed that she almost didn’t attend that night…or ever. She wanted to hear the music; she had heard of it from a friend, but that it was at a church…well, the look on her face suggested their more story than the few words that followed. We’re glad she did attend. I don’t know what she had been praying for, and I don’t know what moved her to get up the courage to enter a place she had great hesitation about. I do know that she came, and I do know that All Pilgrims represented a bit of the love of the Gospel to her that evening by the many who created such a relational space for her to enter.
Relationships. That is where we are transformed. Glimpses of resurrection. May we see even more as an Easter people!