My church sits nestled in the uppermost corner of the Pacific Northwest, in the “land of the nones,” where people are happier worshiping nature than any Divine Being. Once a beautiful, three story, downtown cathedral, our church eventually downsized to a more practical facility on the outskirts of town, as the 1950’s heydays of church gave way to the realities of the postmodern era. Now, as people drive past each weekend, cars loaded down with kayaks and canoes, backpacks and skis, my little church seems to let out a wistful little sigh. If these walls could speak, they just might whisper, “I’m still here!”
And here we stay. As other people drive by, assuming whatever it is they assume about churches, we’re plugging away, doing what we assume churches do.
- If church is obsolete, we’re refusing to bow down to the age of planned obsolescence.
- If church is boring, we’re shivering our timbers and waking ourselves up a bit.
- If church is oblivious, unaware of what’s really happening in the world, we’re waking up to smell the fair trade coffee.
- If church is judgmental, we’re scheduling ophthalmology appointments to remove the logs from our own eyes before we start fussing about the slivers in anyone else’s.
I love this little church because this is the little church that could. It’s certainly not the prettiest church in town – with its god-awful, peeling, green paint and the water leaking through the roof and the spiderwebs decorating every nook and cranny.
Like most “homeowners,” as we look at our list of much needed repairs and chores, we are overwhelmed. Because we’re not the most brilliant, the most wealthy, the most fit, the most, well, the most of anything. We’re just this little island of misfit toys. Like so many faith communities, we’re an odd conglomeration of folks who have gathered because of our common desire to worship, learn, love, and serve.
As we look around our sanctuary on Sunday mornings, we see pews that are half full, making it more difficult to accomplish all the things we think we should be doing; reliving the sacred old traditions; reaching towards new goals. So, there we are, pews half full and, to be honest, offering plate half full, but hearts completely full. Because those new goals are extremely old goals. They come straight from the mouth of Jesus.
- feed the hungry
- give drink to the thirsty
- welcome the stranger
- care for the sick
- clothe the naked
- visit the imprisoned
As we work through the list, doing our best to check things off, we ask, “What more can we do?”
We may be a small group, but we’re mighty. If we can dream it, plan it, and have a little talk with Jesus about it, by golly, we can do it!
So, what’s next on our list? Only God knows. In the meantime, we’ll just keep telling ourselves, “We think we can. We think we can.”