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“The world feels high lonesome and heartbroken to me right now. We’ve sorted ourselves into fractions based on our politics and ideology. We’ve turned away from one another and toward blame and rage. We’re lonely and untethered. And sacred. So damn scared.” – Braving the Wilderness, Brene Brown
This post is not about Brene Brown’s new book (though I think it is her best, yet, and I recommend everyone to read it). This post is about restoring connection. As my Jewish friends remind me, it is our job to be about the repairing of the world. I believe we do that through connection.
It is hard to be human sometimes.
We see this first hand at A Taste of Heaven church every week. We also know that the only way we learn how to be human in this world is through the help of other humans that God loves so dearly. Grace specializes in the mess of humanity.
A Taste of Heaven in the early 1980’s was a soup kitchen and through the years of its various leadership evolutions has become a church. I did not intend to plant a church within a church, but God had different plans.
A Taste of Heaven has grown so much that it is more common to see more people coming just for the church and not just for feeding. Though, our dinner parties every week are not to be missed. Today, a testimony of hope. Because Lord, we need hope right now.
Yesterday, during church, one of the women was clearly intoxicated, clearly disruptive, clearly making all 100 of us uncomfortable. It’s these type of situations one has to figure out how to practice leadership as a minister because the congregation is looking to you. Let me testify to why I believe in the church and God’s grace in us human people so much. Why I believe in hope.
I motioned to our Assistant Pastor if he would go over and just be present unto her as she was clearly upset. He is such a calming presence and his ministry offered care. She was still disruptive even in his exquisite care and I could feel the congregation looking to me “Do something Pastor Jes.” So I said, “Church, let’s take a deep breath and calm our spirits. Love is patient so right now I need to pray. I think we all need to pray.” So we prayed “God, it’s hard to be human. We all know what it’s like to cry out to you because we don’t feel in control of our lives. Help us to be the church here and love each other, support each other, pray for each other, and remind each other of hope.”
It’s lonely being untethered. It’s like an astronaut floating in space observing the world below, but not participating in the meaning of the world. We need community and we need the community to be patient with each other to learn how to link up in connection again.
I preached. We prayed. And then the magic of the church happened.
As soon as the service was over three women from A Taste of Heaven Congregation went over to the woman who was clearly still crying and intoxicated. The women, without my prompting, began to minister to her “Do you need a hug?” “You’re new here, can we help you?” “You aren’t alone baby girl, we know what those cries are about.” And then they took her to the bathroom to get her cleaned up and help her return to some dignity. On their own they lived what I preach.
Point people to Jesus and they will follow Jesus. That’s what these women did. They followed Jesus.
It is so hard to be human. I still can’t believe that God became one of us in Jesus to become human, what was he thinking? But I know I am comforted by my Jesus to know he too knows the cries of the woman and we all know them, too. I’m proud of the church I serve, A Taste of Heaven. I think they grew stronger as a church yesterday and I think they grew stronger as humans. Praise God.
When we return to each other hope is made real. Connection strengthens our dignity. Thank God we are given to each other to hold each other in our fear. To encourage each other and say “You’re not giving up today, you got this baby girl.”
Follow Jesus, and return to each other this week. Return to each other. We’re tethered together for good and for bad. Grace is our common string of connection.