A few Sundays ago—our first after Joan’s departure—Thomasa bravely stood up to preach to us. What a thing to do: volunteering to show up, stand up, and speak amid our collective grief, with such a tough act to follow. But Thomasa did what we all knew she would do: she spoke from her truth about Jesus’s baptism, and our baptism. I am so grateful to Thomasa for guiding us on our first footsteps into this strange new place in which we find ourselves. This wilderness place.
These are tender and fragile days in our community, as we transition from our time with Joan to an unknown future. We need time to grieve, make space for our sadness and un- certainty, and gather a new sense of who we are.
But here is Good News: Church is one of the few places where grief is embraced, uncertainty welcome, and stories told of our ancestors who found a way out of no way. We are not alone! We show up, we stand up, we pray, and we walk beside one another, one step at a time, discovering again that the Spirit leads us, guides us, along the way.
I recently heard someone remark that showing up for worship is a counter-cultural act of rebellion. So true. Where else do people regularly gather to confess, contemplate, rejoice, sing, and share fellowship? Where else do folks gather across generations, races, income and education levels, gender identities and orientations, physical abilities, to worship our one God?
As we face the uncertain days ahead, my challenge to us all is to keep showing up, keep listening and praying, keep being authentic, keep rebelling against a culture that calls us fools for doing so. And, let us keep bearing witness by our presence to our young people, so they can see and feel and hear and taste that there is a rebellious community of love to which they belong. We are here for them. We are here for ourselves. We are here for God. We are here.