Stripping Down and Risking Exposure
Abandoning our Smallness
Fighting for our Future
Gathering the Tribe
1 Peter 3:13-22
1 Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11
Fire for Life
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A Letter from Reverend Brae Adams
Good Morning Church!
I am sitting on my sofa listening to the sounds of birds and the occasional car that drives past, thinking about what a change six weeks can make in a person’s life. Six weeks ago we were just starting Lent. The children had planted Alleluia seeds and were waiting to watch them grow. Our worship space was spare and the cross was adorned with a purple cloth. I couldn’t have imagined that we would still be worshipping and going to Bible Study and Faith and Life and all the other church activities through the media of the internet! I couldn’t have imagined how good Deb would have gotten with a video camera or that I would learn to imagine you all in front of me when I preached to the empty seats in our worship space. Virginia Woolf once said that a person needs “money and a room of one’s own” in order to prosper. I find in this moment that we have neither and yet our little church is thriving. Even still, it was hard for me to give up filming worship in our church. Maybe because I missed you all so much, maybe because that felt like the only place that I could preside over communion, maybe it was because, especially for Open Arms, a sense of place is critical to our identity. We have needed a place to go to be where no one would judge us, where we can be loved just for who we are and where we can come before God knowing that God loves us as we were made.
But I learned something last week. When I hurt my back and the thought of even the five minute ride to church was too much to bear. I learned something that I thought I learned before when we moved from Main Street – the church is NOT a building. The church is her people. And our people are some of the best! Folks are calling and texting and emailing and chatting on Zoom and on Facebook – even on snail mail! Our community is intact. And more than that – it seems to be GROWING! Last week more than 750 people were reached by our Facebook page and our worship was viewed more than 350 people! That’s ten times our normal attendance. Maybe God has a message for us – and it’s not about staying inside our building!
Last week we filmed worship from my dining room. A home church, like the ones we read about in the book of Acts. After all, church can mean many things, a temple, a basilica. A cathedral, a tent with dirt floors and no sides to protect from the wind and rain, even an upper room, crowded with those who had seen and also believed. We made it “churchy,” a banner over the binds in the bay window, a few barely revived flowers leftover from Easter, the communion set and cross and candles from the sanctuary. We premiered the video in real time on a social media platform so we could see folks typing hellos to one another and the emojis that flew like so many nodding heads and alleluias during the sermon. As for me, I said a quiet prayer of Thanksgiving to the God who always provides whether we have money or not, and who always makes sure we have a room to be together wherever we may be.
See you in the little Zoom boxes, or wherever we may meet. Much Love from your pastor.