Take hold of the life that REALLY is life – 1 Timothy 6:19b
The other day, I overheard a parent and a teenager standing at our youth bulletin board, pondering events and activities. The parent was saying, do you want to do this? How about this? The teenager was saying, I’m not sure, maybe? And suddenly the parent said, not out of frustration but with good humor: “Oh, I’m just going to sign you up for EVERYTHING!”
And as I was walking by I turned with a grin and said, “That’s what MY parents did!”
And you know… they did. They embraced the activities and events and opportunities and relationships that our church afforded, and they pushed me (gently) to do that too. They invested us in the community. They signed me up for (almost) everything!
I have gone on at length in the past about the spirit that we have here at Trinity and how incredible it is to be a part of such an active and dynamic congregation, so I feel like you probably know what I have to say about all of that! The point I want to make is a more specific one: embracing the community of faith, embracing the opportunities and connections that it offers, gently pushing ourselves and our families and our friends to do it too… it works, you know? It STILL works. It works, and it makes a difference. Sometimes, in some ways it makes a HUGE difference. But always, it makes some kind of difference. It makes a difference that Wednesdays are “church night.” It makes a difference that without even needing to say it ourselves, we can teach our children that service and sharing are important and necessary, and that being together with other people who believe that is too. It makes a difference that we can be taught what it truly means to follow Jesus, and that we can discuss it and even debate about it (age-appropriately!) together.
It makes a difference that we can build friendships, individually and as families. It makes a difference that we can be together for common purpose with people of all generations, from the just born to the ones who have seen many years. It makes a difference that we come together to say, this is who we are, this is what we believe, this is what’s important.
It makes a difference that we can choose to embrace all of these things. In a world that sometimes seems chaotic at best and terrifying at worst, I believe that it’s more and more important for us to come together, to BE together, and to practice our faith in worship, in study, in fellowship, in service, and in prayer. I know how busy many of us are, and I know (better than most!) how easy it is to get distracted from what’s important. But it gives me life and hope to see and hear the signs all around us, all the time, of people who are embracing, who are leaning in to the opportunities and the blessings of being a community of faith together. This is a precious and powerful thing that we have here… and I don’t need to tell you that it’s a rare thing, too. You can feel it in the air around this place; you can hear it in the sounds of activity, the buzz of love; you can see it in the eyes of the young and the eyes of the old. The Spirit is at work here… God is making a difference.
For my family when I was growing up, church was a place of growth and safety and encouragement. It was the place where our friends were. It was the place where we found fun and learning and challenge and love, the place where new experiences and venerable traditions built us into the people that we were and are and connected us to others in shared community life. Here at Trinity, the Spirit is bringing us all of those things and more. Embrace it. Share it. Invest yourselves in it. Don’t take it for granted! Sign up for all the things. It works… it makes a difference.