Monday, March 23, 2009

thinking about horizontal-ness and resting

This weekend I went on a ‘retreat’ with my church here in DC. I tried not to think about it too much before we went so that I would just take it as it happened and enjoy it for what it was. I was a bit tired because I’ve been sick recently and I got to drive but, otherwise, it was a good time.

I got to meet some new people and I got to connect with some people that I’d met before but, I didn’t know that well. I am happy to be a part of a community of people like this in DC. As a friend told me recently, for whatever flaws we have as a community, each one of us has come as somewhat disconnected individuals to find a type of family there.

Even so, I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the ‘type’ of community that we are and have so many things bouncing around in my head. One of those things is that our church is located in Columbia Heights it is such a racially diverse part of the city but, our community doesn’t reflect that diversity very well.

“Left ravaged and forgotten for decades following the race riots in 1968, Columbia Heights has been the focus of a revitalization initiative since 1999. […] It is a microcosm of the unique crossroads of wealth and poverty, power and weakness that is Washington, DC,...”

So, I’ve been thinking a lot about what my role is as a part of a local church. I’ve been thinking about the Church as a “community of priests” and each and every one of us having a role in being the voice, hands, and feet of the Church. I’ve been thinking about the needs and opportunities in the neighborhood and in what ways we can be “incarnational” by loving our community in practical ways.

The Advent vision states that, “We believe that a healthy church ought to be two dimensional: vertical and horizontal. By means of the vertical dimension, people experience reconciliation and peace with God, and are moved to worship and serve Him. Through the horizontal dimension, people experience reconciliation and peace with one another, and are moved to care for one another and work for the common good.”

I have a deep sense of being loved by the people in the community and at the same time, I think that we could do better at reaching out to the surrounding community. It isn’t going to be easy but, I think that we could do better. I guess what I’ve been thinking about a lot is what am I supposed to do or not do about it. I’m hesitant to just get busy for the sake of being busy but, I’m also wary of not doing anything at all.

This is more of a reflection of my own struggle with what type of commitment I should make to Advent and what kind of things I should commit myself to. I don’t want to over-extend myself and not do anything well but, I also don’t want to sit back and do nothing at all. I am trying to discern how I am called to serve horizontally and how I am going to grow intentionally in knowing Christ and in spiritual friendship with others in my community.

This weekend I felt all the intensity of my desire to love our neighbors and then I was told very directly that I should not worry about those things that it is good for me to learn how to rest and trust that all good things will be done at the right time. Maybe I am not ready to move out of the season of waiting, maybe I still need to learn to rest. That’s ok. I will try not to worry. I will just continue to be and do what seems natural to me. I think I realized this weekend that I AM connected to people in this community even if I feel new and unsure about the role I play.

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live the questions now... R.M. Rilke