Dear Good Shepherd Church –
I’ve mentioned this before, but did you know that the word “church” in scripture is a Greek word – ecclesia- which means the “called out”’ from the world. Church or the early Christians were a group of people who were called out, by their faith in Jesus, to live a different life and to live that life together in a faith community!
In days gone by, people desired and thrived in community. The church was built in the middle of the town green. The church bell called the community together, not only to worship and pray but to work, assist and enjoy one another. Oh, people might have gathered to a certain degree because of a sense of holy obligation, but much more than that they discovered and enjoyed the gift that community itself was and they didn’t use a TV or an IPod or a cell phone or a computer. They just enjoyed real community.
I visited the other day with a former parishioner who now lives on the coast. He is enjoying spending time with his many grandchildren of various ages. “How do you get them to come together,” I asked? He chuckled and then said, “Well, when you live on the beach and you have a real nice pool it’s pretty easy!” Pools are fun, but not just because of the water. They also provide a great place to talk and visit; to enjoy each other just for the sake of being together.
So what is it about Christian community that we don’t get? We come together to do liturgy but are there other reasons to be in a faith community that we have forgotten about or don’t even realize we need. How about the sense of being called out , or the idea of doing something together that is big, cosmic, and of God? What about the joy of working together on a project of lasting value, or true spiritual friendship, laughter and love. Why don’t we associate these ideas with Christian community?
This is a little weird but try this idea out - imagine that we did whatever you think “church” is in a pool! In the pool is where friendship and support would happen. In the pool was where laughter, fun and excitement occurred. In the pool was where people gathered together to celebrate life and to wash away their troubles. In the pool they encountered God in Christ in their fellowship. The most important thing about all the cool things that can happen in a pool is that they can’t happen if you ‘re by yourself alone in the pool!
So, maybe we don’t get much out of our Christian communities because we never really get into them? If I don’t get into the pool I can’t experience community. Or, is it the other way around – if I don’t get into the community I can’t experience the cool of the pool - the power and presence of God, spiritual friendships, intimacy, love, calling….
I hope you are having a relaxing summer. Remember to stop by God’s Pool at 715 Kirkman and JUMP IN - the water is fine!
PS – with all of the above in mind enjoy the lyrics to Steven Curtis Chapman’s song –
The long awaited rains Have fallen hard upon the thirsty ground And carved their way to where The wild and rushing river can be found.
And like the rains I have been carried here to where the river flows, yeah My heart is racing and my knees are weak as I walk to the edge I know there is no turning back once my feet have left the ledge.
And in the rush I hear a voice That's telling me it's time to take the leap of faith So here I go.
Chorus: I'm diving in, I'm going deep in over my head I want to be Caught in the rush lost in the flow in over my head I want to go The rivers deep the rivers wide the rivers water is alive So sink or swim I'm diving in.
There is a supernatural power In this mighty rivers flow It can bring the dead to life And it can fill an empty soul And give a heart the only thing Worth living and worth dying for, yeah But we will never know the awesome power of the grace of God.
Until we let ourselves get swept away into this holy flood So if you'll take my hand We'll close our eyes and count to three And take the leap of faith, come on let's go...
Read more: Steven Curtis Chapman - Dive Lyrics | MetroLyrics
10:30 Holy Communion - Rite 2 -715 Kirkman Street - Church of the Good Shepherd
9:30 Adult Christian Education