It is Monday of Easter week, and I just got off a conference call with other clergy who are also leading redevelopment efforts in their respective parishes, all in California. It was a smaller group than usual, and we were pretty much all worn out from the busyness of Holy Week. Normally one gets into a rhythm: Monday you de-stress from the wildness of Sunday and, as the week progresses, you do both sermon and other service preparation in amongst all of the other things that leading a church involves--administration, pastoral visits, the occasional solicitation call, and hopefully time for prayer and some personal Bible study as well. With a weekly worship service, there is generally ample time to take a breath before the next Sunday rolls around. Not with Holy Week. We have a comparatively light schedule here (see last week's post), but the tiredness is still there.
There's a deeper weariness, though, that I also heard from my colleagues--the weariness of living in a world that appears stuck in Good Friday (death) while trying to preach and live Easter (resurrection life). It is also quite a challenge to lead an entire church composed of people engaged in this same struggle. What does a mission-minded church faithful to God's call look like in this place and in this time, and how do we get there from here? That is the challenge we face as individuals and as a community of faith.
One person's answer to that question, in that time and in that place, is my colleague Rebecca Stevens, founder of Magdalane. Becca's efforts just "went national" with a spot on National Public Radio (NPR). The story shows what transformation looks like--and how difficult it can be.
Regardless of our own context, the video does demonstrate one truth: we may not be able to do everything, but we can do something. For now, the "something" that our church can and does do is provide a place for various 12-step groups to meet, groups that respond to a real need and that have been life-changing for many people. God may be calling us to do even more, but that's where we are now.
We'll see where we go now....