Prelude to my first sermon: Saints & Sinners…& [the awkward embrace]

When I introduce myself to new people, trying to make connections and form my own networks–some of these connections are formed in the context of “the church.” My job as a Ministry Developer has been described in many different ways–most of these definitions I wrote myself. Depending on the context of my meeting, who is present, and the reason for the conversation, my role as a Ministry Developer changes.

I am a bridge between a larger congregation and a smaller worship and ministry site. Most of my time is spent within the context of this smaller site–and there is a lot of healing and growth that is taking place. The language is one of growth, creativity, excitement–the language of parents as they are preparing the nursery room for the baby that is on the way. Not really sure of what is coming; knowing it will be hard, but worth it. And beautiful. Beautiful.

The site is also comprised of several different circles. Some are actively involved in the “worship” aspect of this community, while others are so steeped in ministry, their actions run in full pursuit of mercy and compassion. Some may not call this specifically [worship]–but I do. And not everyone understands the language they use. It can be complex, fascinating, and inspiring. We need to hear more of this.

The location of the physical building is in a residential neighborhood. Beautiful, BEAUTIFUL. I cannot say enough how much I am enjoying the scenery of this new adventure. Mountains, the Puget Sound, boats, seagulls [I’m sorry, but they are one of my favorite things to watch!], and the trees… it’s incredible. The community has its own understanding of what is important, what is worth time and energy, and what is necessary for life. Is my message relevant to this community? What should I/could I be learning from them? Where is our common ground?

My friend has a phrase that I have had percolating through my head a lot recently. The Awkward Embrace. My job is centered on embracing areas of life that might not necessarily find themselves hand-in-hand. But the gesture of touch, the empathy of true compassion, and the understanding that can come from being present with someone–it can be healing. redemptive. and, it can be awkward.

My first sermon is this Sunday–All Saints Sunday. Talk about intimidating. Talk about an awkward embrace. We are continually living in the awkward embrace of our sinner-saint identity. We hold on tightly to the ‘sinner’ side of things–pointing out who is not worthy, who doesn’t understand things the way we understand them… then as a side note, we affirm people of their saintly image in God’s Community. I found a few thoughts  on this topic of the saint/sinner embrace that have been reassuring to me.

It’s ok to have different definitions.

It’s ok to awkwardly embrace the now and the not yet.

Now, if only I can speak these ideas in a relevant and tangible way on Sunday. [sermon notes to come.]

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