I confess that things got a little bit nutty in our worship service yesterday. We’ve come to expect the Sunday after the first intense cold snap in KC will be a bit of a challenge for our church. Twenty-five or thirty homeless folks who are part of our congregation will be coming in from the cold, and they are often a little out of control that day. Some come because they are a part of our church, and they want to worship. Some come to get a hot shower and get out of the cold for a few hours. Some come for a little human connection, a glimpse at something normal, or a chance to see friends from other camps. Some come because they have a long list of people whose hospitality they rely upon in order to get through the week, and we are simply one stop on the list.
I confess that I am convinced our proximity to the poor absolutely changes the way we hear the gospel, and the closer we are to the poor, the better chance we have of hearing it well. I feel like we heard it clearly yesterday, even when it was hard to listen because of constant disturbances that interrupted our attempts at public worship. Our worship environment was chaotic, embarrassing, often loud, and distracting at times. And yet our congregation as a whole handled each difficulty with patience, grace, and even a little humor. There have been moments when I’ve felt like we were really onto something at Redemption Church. Yesterday was one of those moments when I knew it to be true. Often pastors will talk about the church as the body of Christ, and they will say that we mean to make the body beautiful. The word “beauty” is used in the church much more metaphorically than literally. With all of it’s interruptions, disturbances, and comic failings, the worship yesterday at our little ragamuffin church was a thing of beauty. This church is something special. I’m blown away by these people.
I confess that Ordinary Time is about to be over and I’m pretty excited about this. The beginning of Advent signals a whole new change in the pace of ministry for me, and I hope I’m up for it this year. Our church follows the Revised Common Lectionary from the beginning of Advent through Pentecost. During Ordinary Time we do our own thing, designing our own series’ and attempting to address specific needs in terms of discipleship or community life. I confess that I like the lectionary better. I like being assigned a text as a starting point. I confess that I like being tethered to the lectionary because I feel like there is more freedom for some reason. It’s counter intuitive, but I experience more freedom when having to work through a series of assigned passages over months and months. I’m excited that Advent is coming next week.
I confess that it feels like winter outside and I’m loving it. I confess that I am a bit befuddled by my own indoor temperature habits as they relate to the temperature outside. For instance, I keep my office cold in the summer and (excessively) warm in the winter. Why is that? We keep our house basically the same temperature year-round, but I take hot showers in the winter and tepid showers in the summer. As much as I hate the heat, I love cooling down. As much as I love the cold, I can only take so much of it, and my favorite part is the sensation of warming back up. I confess that in the season where it’s cold in the mornings and warm in the afternoons, I cannot pick a temperature for my office or my showers. I confess that this whole paragraph is absurd.
Okay friend, I’ve made my confession. Now it’s time for you to make yours.