Where do we go from here, together?
The rain cleared just in the nick of time. I uncovered the communion bread and dried off my folding chair, excited to see who might arrive. I had brought out the big orange and green boxes of kid’s toys, one with toys, one with books. Remember those? I put out paper and markers on the old green bench in the parking lot of Sunnyside. It all felt strangely nostalgic: objects from a former life being drawn back into the present. Zoe and Katie came early to get organized for leading the kid’s group. (How they have grown. How all our kids have grown since we last met face-to-face.)
The world has changed since we last met inside Sunnyside, yet some things have remained the same: the warmth of coming together, the sustenance of communion, the comfort and confusion of being followers of the Way of Jesus.
People began to arrive–familiar faces and a few new ones. We held space for conversation: what held meaning for you in our Sunday gatherings before covid? what held meaning for you in our Sunday gatherings during covid?
Patterns began to emerge, similarities of experience. Differences began to emerge as well, which is why we listen to one another. Intentional conversations were happening at the Hardy home and at Kingfisher farm in small groups, too.
Together each location read the first chapter of Luke. We observed Ruth’s choice to go with Naomi, even though it put her at risk. What mattered most to Ruth was not the destination but a person–with whom she chose to journey. We, too, are asking ourselves as a church, “Where do we go from here?” as my sabbatical ends and we begin face-to-face worship. As we are curious together, Ruth reminds us that “Where do we go from here?” is accompanied by “Where do we go from here, together?” We make our way by walking, together.
This Sunday we will meet face-to-face for the first time inside the Sunnyside building. I’ll dive a bit more deeply into Ruth’s story, and then we’ll make time to listen to one another, following the rhythm we adopted during Zoom church. Life is long. We have time to pause and be curious together about the Spirit’s stirrings within us.
Deep peace and blessings.
Rev. Anne Baxter Smith
Pastor of Church at Southpoint