Kairos-Milwaukie United Church of Christ

KMUCC Bldg Oct2019I am sitting in my office at the church today – trying to avoid the distractions of spouse and pets, and all the undone laundry and gardening at home.

It’s a perfect Oregon summer day – warm and breezy under a bright blue sky. Kids from the Swan and Madrona houses are playing noisily, cheerfully, outside my window and the murder of crows that sometimes visits in the late afternoon is arguing vociferously from the treetops. My whole extended family and I are safe and well. The world is so tender and beautiful.

Meanwhile on my newsfeed 179,00 Americans have died of COVID19, California is on fire, Texas and Louisiana are bracing for a category 4 hurricane with storm surge the forecasters are describing as “un-survivable,” NBA players are, quite reasonably, striking from the playoffs in response to the news of yet another police shooting of an unarmed black, and we are headed into the last two months of a political campaign that will be another kind of storm. The world is so brutal and frightening.

It seems impossible, but it is all true: the tenderness and beauty, the brutality and fear.

Sitting here with my too-full heart, wondering how to make sense of it all, I am reminded that our calling is not to be optimistic but to be hopeful. Optimism says, “everything is going to be all right;” hope says, “no matter what I am on the side of the tender, beautiful and good.” Optimism says, “nothing to worry about;” hope says, “I will put away worry, so I have the energy to tend to my sisters and brothers and to my own heart as we work on.”

And so, we press on. We gather together for worship – to sing and pray and share communion. We persist in our prayers for one another and our giving to the church and to the missions that matter to all of us. We continue gathering for social time and theological and spiritual discussion.

But we don’t merely press on to continue doing whatever we have always done. KMUCC is a community called and gathered together in response to the still-speaking God. In hope and expectation we gather to listen still for where the spirit is calling us forward: into study and advocacy around climate change, racial justice and immigrant rights; into deeper experiences of prayer; into using on-line tools to gather for worship, not just now when it is our only option, but later when it is safe to be gathered in person and also online.

Where, in the midst of all the present storm do you hear the Spirit calling us to go?

I am so grateful that wherever the Spirit is calling and equipping us to go, we will go there together.