Warning: This blog post contains an extended metaphor
Two years ago we put a wood burning insert in our living room fireplace. One of the many satisfying experiences with this is putting on new logs (and maybe some newspaper) in the morning and having them catch fire from the heat still held in the coals from the previous evening.
There have been times in the last couple years when congregational life has felt like tending the coals, waiting for the morning to arrive when new fuel meets conserved heat and flares up for the new day.
I’m not exactly saying that time is about to be fulfilled, but I am observing that we are entering a season, as the school calendar begins, of rekindling some key aspects of church community we haven’t practiced since early 2020.
One of these is offering Sunday school for all ages during the eleven o’clock hour. If “Sunday school” sounds about as hot as a blanket of snow over the fire pit, think of it as an intentional time of spiritual/religious/Anabaptist/counter-cultural character formation/re-formation.
Another rekindling is offering nursery and preschoolers care during worship as many Sundays as we can, preferably all. If this sounds like one more log to carry in your already-full arms, think of it as a ready-made way of supporting the children we just dedicated on Sunday, and many others. Think of it as a cross-generational educational opportunity – for you – to learn and play with young people who won’t be young for long.
Community Life Commission is also finalizing plans for our first fall retreat weekend in three years. Think of it as a mini-vacation, a pilgrimage, a choose-your-own-adventure time with others or curled up by yourself in a hammock with a book of choice.
What do these rekindlings have in common? They are highly participatory. More to the point, they work well with lots of folks contributing, and don’t work without them. What else do they have in common? There will be sign ups in the foyer this Sunday for teachers, care givers, and retreat attendees.
So, I guess what I’m saying is, Jump on in and get burned! Wait…This is where the metaphor breaks down a bit. Unless our fire is like the one Moses encountered in Exodus 3. That’s the story of the bush in the desert that “was blazing, yet it was not consumed.” When healthy, our activity in the Spirit makes us more rather than less of ourselves.
Which keeps the question open of what is the level of healthy activity we all need right now? I’m with our various commissions in believing it’s a good time for some rekindling of intergenerational community. And as always, the way we answer the question collectively is the way we will tend the flame for the next while.