Thursday, May 31, 2012

From Community to Ministry

This community I've been talking about all week, this little street - I've told you what it means to me.  What it answers for me.  And what it invites me to.  And let me tell you, some of these questions, I've been asking for more than twenty years.

Maybe that's why I'm so in love with here.  Because I have been looking for it for so long.

Having it now is not the end of the quest.  It's not the end of my question, either.  This is the beginning of something new.

When you find something like this, something that answers your questions, speaks to your heart - whether it is community or novelty or stability or whatever that is for you - you can't help but remember how it was before you found here.  Before this day, when time was yesterday and yesterday was heart-aching.  Suddenly, you see it.  You remember all the eyes you've ever seen that are asking the same questions you were asking.  The hearts that know some of the pains you have known.  The lives looking for their answer.

Not everybody is this lucky.  Not everyone settles into a great street; not everyone finds a great community.  In a world that pretends to keep us together while keeping us apart, it's hard to connect to something real, something genuine like this.  Something tangible.  You can't ask Facebook to borrow a cup of sugar.  Twitter's never going to sweat it out in the yard with you.  E-mail isn't going to inflect what love is the way a simple conversation on a porch does.  For all our connectedness, our world is still lacking community like this in far too many places.

We live with the world at our fingertips, but we take great care never to touch it.

I'm telling you - we have to touch it.  We have to reach out to our world.  It's moments like this that make that never more powerful.

Knowing that not everyone will find a place like this, not everyone will fall into a community like this, not everyone will know love, what can we do with what we've got?  We can build it.

In the past several months, perhaps even years when I wasn't paying attention, my heart has been drawn to ministry.  And I mean drawn.  Particularly, into women's ministry.  I see in my sisters - at church, at home, in this community, on this street, and beyond - so much of what I've been asking that God is starting to answer.  It's not that our stories are the same, that we all live exactly the same lives.  It's that as daughters of God living in a fallen world, we have the same deepest questions.  The same deepest longings and wonderings and wanderings.  There's something about being a woman in the kingdom of God, a daughter, looking for Daddy whether you have daddy issues or not.  It's in us.  It's the fallenness in us, compounded by a million other little things.

I can't invite all of these women I meet to move onto my street.  I can't drag them over to the neighbor's porch or borrow the couple's labradoodle to love on them.  But what I can do is build this community for them.  That's where I'm headed.

I don't know all the details; I haven't planned this out in 20 steps or 200 stages or even 2 years.  But I'm looking around and seeing a lot of tender women searching for sisterhood.  Ministry is about building that one connected story at a time, so we are weaving ourselves into each other's narrative and being the kind of women who stand together, who pray together, who cry together, who sing together, who fall to our knees together, and maybe even who bowl together.  Hey, not everything is so serious.  It's about fellowship.  It's about being around and loving one another and knowing each other so well that it's like we see each other in our pajamas every day.  It's about creating a place where we're just living, where life is as it is and that's ok, where this community grows better because you're in it but you don't have to hold it together.  It's not dependent upon doing or being doers; it's dependent upon love and authenticity.

So that's been rolling around in my heart and in my head for quite awhile, and I just thought I'd spill it. And maybe encourage you to look around and start thinking the same - that whatever you've found, wherever you are that answers something you've been asking forever...there's still someone looking for that.  There are people out there who need what you've found.  In this case, who need a place.

Since we can't always bring them here, let's take here there.  Let's look around and build something for our world, knowing what it means to us to be here.  Knowing what Love is.

What can you build for someone today?

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