As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, “Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what he was saying.) - Luke 9
CELEBRATE! Saturday morning workshops are fine. Saturday evening dinner gatherings with the leadership team are always a treat. But, nothing else is quite so invigorating as the atmosphere of celebration and joy that characterizes Sunday morning worship as a community of faith.
One of the best things about the church I attend is simply being there, just hanging out in such a vibrant community. The experience is not only worshipful but redemptive, rejuvenating, invigorating and reassuring (and more...). This weekend was a little extra exciting, even for us. But then it's not every day that six years of hard, focused work comes to the point where it's time to dedicate the project and begin to ask God, "What's next?"
So What? You'd think, after a project comes together, that it would be time to sit back, take a vacation, and just rest in the satisfaction of accomplishment...? Well, no; it turns out that's not exactly how God moves in this world. The question is always some version of Rebekah's (my wife) famous "So What?" response to just about any scripture, sermon or event in the life of the church.
The idea hung like a huge banner over every aspect of this weekend. So what? So you've built an amazing new "Discipleship Center"... So what? So all these fine people show up for church every weekend... So what? So we say we're excited about how the Gospel is impacting so many lives... So what?
"Un-B-Flippin'-Lievable." That's why this scripture jumped out at me today. Jesus took some of his closest friends up the mountain for a worship/educational experience that was truly inspirational. Then, because these guys had forgotten the "So what?" imperative that runs through everything Jesus said and did (like a thread of DNA), all they could think to do was to set up a few tents so they could live in that moment for ever.
"Good grief!" Jesus have thought, "There's a valley full of people who need me, and you clowns want to stay up here on the mountain and just 'live in the moment'....? Un-B-Flippin'-Lievable.'"
So here we are. We are at another wonderful place of dynamic celebration and promise and achievement. So what?
WRITING THE FUTURE: I like what I said on Saturday evening, when our elders and their families gathered at the Evans' home for dinner with Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow (Moderator of the 218th General Assembly). We had been talking about our 50-year story, and I'd mentioned that I just finished writing the church history for First Brandon's 50th anniversary.... Then I corrected myself: This is what I said:
I was wrong when I said that I am writing the history of this church. It is all of you - all of us, the leaders who are sitting around this room this evening. We are writing the history of this church from day to day, moment by moment. All I have done is to record some of it.
That is the only reason we have doubled the size of our church campus in the past six years, added staff, expanded the pre-school ministry, and dedicated this awesome new building. We are doing this so that we can tell the story more effectively. So that we can be the story. So that Jesus is invited to live and to love through us.