This week we are reading chapter 8 “Already Here” of Tim Sorens’s book, Everywhere You Look: Discovering the Church Right Where You Are.
Sorens’s final chapter is his altar call for us to simply open our eyes to what the Spirit is already doing. He writes that “if we learn how to connect across our neighborhoods and learn from one another, we’ll discover this in weaving our stories and experiences together, we have everything that we need.” p.114. God is not waiting on us to finally discern the How and the What of bringing God’s Dream into the world. Rather God is already working right here and right now. Not only do we need the sacred curiosity to see what is going on, but we need the willingness to work with those throughout our community.
As Soren points out in Chapter 5, to truly be the church in our community we need to create an alternative story of how we are to live in this world. We need to create a culture that demonstrates that the gospel message is true here, true now, and true in this place, similar to what we see in Acts 2, Romans 14, 1 John 4, and 1 Peter 1. This is a culture grounded in the love of God and the love of neighbor that has a firm belief that God is at work in the world. p.115. For this culture to work within the world, it takes a patient presence. An army can conquer a neighborhood in a day, but love takes much longer and requires a constant presence. The early church lacked all means of coercion (military, economic, social, etc.) yet it grew exponentially because of its culture, its love, and its presence.
If we look at God’s time horizon, it stretches forever. The church’s timeline, therefore, is not measured in years, but decades or longer. As Sorens writes, the church plays the long game. p.116. This is why we must see and understand what God is already doing, where God is already active, and to join in. We don’t need to start at the beginning, we can come in at the middle and be part of a larger story. If the church is to win over hearts and minds, to bring about change at the neighborhood level, and to heal our divisions, we must be present in our neighborhoods and to think long-term.
Scheduling Note –
This week we are finishing Sorens’s book. On October 24, each of us is going to share our knowledge of where God is working in our community today. See, pp.107-09. On October 31, there is no lesson, but everyone is welcome to come and share in our Halloween drinks and hors d’oeuvres and give our candy. Parking is as far up the driveway as possible. November 21 is our Thanksgiving Day dinner and Eucharist. Reservations are required. December 12 is our Christmas Party.
Dinner is at 6. The menu is Oktoberfest. Discussion about 6:45. Compline at 8. Hope to see you here.
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience, forbearing one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.Colossians 3:12-14