It’s about eleven a.m. on Tuesday as I write this. Midway Hills is like an ant hill this morning! The Master Gardeners are out in full force, carting plants and shoveling mulch and going crazy outside; Darissa, our resident caterer, is cooking up something delicious in the kitchen. Paul Johnson is prepping for the work day on Saturday (HAVE YOU SIGNED UP YET?), Stephen Studnicka and Greg Merrell are cleaning out the storage closet in the office wing, David and I are basically staying out of people’s way, doing what we do in the office. (David is prepping the newsletter and bulletin; I’m drinking coffee and watching people… at least, I was for a few minutes.) There is a community bustling in this place, seeking to create space for justice, inclusion and diversity in the work of the Gospel. Tonight, AA will meet en masse. Tomorrow, the Wednesday Morning Bible Study and CAF will build community together in study and fellowship, our Ministerial Residents will be in, there’s the Jesus Practicum and choir and Bible Study that night. We’ll see folks on Saturday, and of course Sunday for worship and Jazz Vespers. And I ask myself, as my next cup of coffee brews out of the Keurig*, what if we cannot do this alone?
I mean, of course we can’t do the work of the Reign of God alone. Jesus Christ was surrounded by people so much that the times he was alone were noted as opposed to the other way around. The disciples, the crowds, the folks who followed him did not just do so in a silent, single-file line but together, sharing life, sharing stories, sharing concerns, sharing bread, sharing themselves in this vulnerable, beautiful, relational life. And then I get to thinking—what if that’s how resurrection is, too?
Resurrection, as I have said before, is not the same as resuscitation. The new life begun in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is based in witness—the intentional sharing of Rising—and community, the living into it we are called to. When Jesus boldly states, “I AM the resurrection and the life,” he is not speaking in first person singular; well, yes, he is, kind of, but not in an exclusive way. We are all called—every last stinking one of us—to be a part of this resurrection and life, together. We’re called to be a part of this thriving, crazy ant hill we call the community of Christ, the church. And that breathes some life into me.
This Sunday, we’ll be talking about Lazarus—the man who was so dead, Jesus is told in the King James’ Version that, “he stinketh.” But through Christ, and in the presence of community, he is unbound and let go into something new, something bold, something alive. And that should get us going strong into Holy Week. As always, and as forever, I look forward to seeing you Sunday. But also Saturday, hopefully! And maybe Wednesday, too?
*in an effort to not be hyper-destructive to the environment, but still stay caffeinated, we have begun the switch over to exclusively using biodegradable pods for the Keurig coffee machine. The amount of waste that is created by the “regular” plastic pods is staggering, and as a justice-seeking congregation that seeks to care for and steward God’s creation, it makes sense. So yes, coffee! And also yes, environment!