Much of the biblical narrative is a cry from exile, and a joyous return from exile. The tale begins in Genesis, with a swift and indignant boot out of the garden. The story continues across deserts, over lakes and across oceans. The story continues through dysfunctional families, confusion, trials, deaths, and rebirth. It is the story of our restless, often rambunctious and rebellious humanity that God never gives up on.
We of New Community of Faith have grown weary of exile, and we give thanks for this community where all people can come in. Here, we share our faith, our fears, our food. Here, like any organic, growing thing, we expand, contract, and expand again. In short, we breathe a collective breath, and our lives are intertwined.
On January 25, we will be gathering from east, west, north, and south for the great tradition of the annual meeting. The meeting will start with the offering of a cup of coffee or tea as we greet those we see several times a month, and those we see less often. If there are guests, they will be assured there is room for them, and plenty of food to go around. The meeting will then continue with our 11:15 worship and communion. We will then continue our worship with the sharing of a meal. Right now we may be creating reports, but on that Sunday what we will be sharing are our stories. Stories of the challenges and joys of this past year, and our hopes for the future. We will be sharing our prayers for those who can no longer worship with us, and our prayers for those who are still finding their way to us. We will pray for the refugees yearning for home.
Such meetings help us to avoid getting lost in the past, or to become overly anxious about the future. Such meetings help us to remember that Christ can be found anytime people come together, anytime people are willing to risk being in relationship with a fellow human on the road. We do not wait for Christ, but rather Christ waits for us.
Let us not keep Christ waiting any longer; let us be gathered in.
I will gather them from the ends of the world,
With the blind and the lame in their midst,
The mothers and those with child;
They shall return as an immense throng.
They departed in tears,
But I will console and guide them;
I will lead them to brooks of water,
On a level road, so that none shall stumble.