Grandma’s Plastic Tablecloth and Folding Church Chairs - by Sandy Messick

My family has started a new practice of trying out unfamiliar restaurants in our area rather than defaulting to the ones we already know. Not that we’ll never go back to our old favorites, but that we know there are some undiscovered gems in our neighborhood and we are on a quest to find them. Using Yelp, or other sites that offer customer reviews of restaurants, we’ve been picking a cuisine and searching within a few miles of our home to try out a new place. So far we’ve discovered a Thai restaurant in Lynnwood that not only has good food, but a huge fish tank and live piano music. On a very rainy Sunday evening, we visited a Mexican restaurant in Mountlake Terrace that got mixed reviews from our family, but at least led us to a neighborhood we’d not visited before. Last week we ended up in another Mexican restaurant in Edmonds that frankly wasn’t much to look at on the outside and was even less impressive on the inside. As we took our seats at one of only three tables I admit there was a bit of trepidation. The table was covered with a flowery vinyl tablecloth that reminded Tom of visiting his grandma’s house as a child, and the chairs were indeed of the folding variety found in many church fellowship halls, but the food was amazing. Fresh, homemade, cooked to order; thumbs up all around from our family. I think we will be back… after we’ve explored some other new places of course.

How willing are we in church to try something new? To enter into the unknown and dare to risk disappointment or failure? Too often I think we default to what is comfortable and has worked in the past, even if it’s not working in the present, because it’s what we know. God’s transformation calls us to step out of our familiar and experience the “new” that God is doing in our midst. Where will you, and your congregation, venture next? Where will we as Region dare to travel together? And what might we discover along the way?