Unity and Diversity

One of the many things that I enjoy about being home is that time, space and friends are directly tied to memories. And shared memories are the best. Living abroad, memories were more short-term. The longest period of time that we spent in a single location was 16 years, in Fredericton. With certain individuals, I could look back that far and ask the the question, “Do you remember the time … ?” And that was nice, but outside the period of time we lived in that location, there were no shared memories.

There is one guy though. He’ll read this very newsletter. His name is Layton Ford, a.k.a., “Tigger”, his running nickname. We can reminisce all the way back to circa 1987. We have so many great stories. It seems like I must have known him all my life but that is where our stories intersect. WE still have contact, … not as much as I would like but geography is a minor thing to come between friends. Absence make the stories even better. Love you, Tig.

A high school friend now deceased, used to make me laugh quite regularly. Now we are going back 53 years or more. Glenn G and Anzonette U, “Do you remember the times we used to walk into class and someone would ask this mutual friend, ‘What are you doing?'”

His straight-faced reply always made me laugh. I’m not sure why. It was a stock response. “Just growing a beard.” He’s the only person that I ever heard, who used a response like that.

To me it was funny because of the way that it was said. It was funny because I don’t know of anyone who ever sits down intentionally to try to grow a beard. It was funny because, try or not, some sparse or dense stubble would appear, unless you happened to be a lady. It was funny because beard-growing is a slow process for most.

What he really was saying was, “I’m doing absolutely nothing.”

We all get asked that question here and there. Occasionally, I have wanted to respond to the what-are-you-doing question with a similar response, “Trying to build a church.”

In these years of my life I am realizing that:

  • I cannot build a church. I might be able to build attendance but attendance is not Church.
  • God is building His Church globally even as he builds locally.
  • Building a church means building people … building them up, helping them to grow stronger in their relationship with Christ, walking with them through celebration and sorrow and the ordinariness of everyday life.
  • Building buildings is not building Church
  • Implementing programs is not building Church. 
  • I’ll just wear myself out trying and burn others out in the process.

It’s really just looking for ways to participate in God’s ongoing agenda. I remind myself of this quite often when I am tempted to fall back into old familiar ways. I surrender to God’s plan and purpose for our lives at CLC. ‘We have this ministry … ” (2 For. 4:1). And we do have this ministry. It’s ours, one that offers hope to those who have to look hard to find it. As we point people Jesus-ward, He builds His Church.

One day we’ll look back at this time in the life of our Church and ask each other, “Do you remember that time when … ?” These are good days my brothers and sisters, as strange as they may be and as uncertain as they may be … they are good.

It’s not that it’s wrong
It’s just that it’s sad
To not see the good 
For all that is bad. (KI)

What we cannot do, God can. What we cannot see, God sees. He is at work and our part in what He is doing is many times, like trying to grow a beard. (Excepting the ladies) Thanks for being a part of what He is building at 1235 RT. 776. And thanks for being with us today.