Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Setting Forth

This evening found me in an unfinished room above a Christian coffeehouse/drop-in center/mission in a very depressed town in my county, sitting in a circle with maybe fifteen other people, discussing what makes, breaks, and sustains Community.

A week ago I had no idea of being there.

But five years ago I came to southwestern Pennsylvania to pastor a church in a "safe" suburb of this same very depressed town, and I had hoped my new congregation, with all its talents and capabilities, would embark with me in mission to that rundown community.

It didn't work out that way. A lot of things didn't work out the way I'd hoped and planned.

This past Sunday, I was worshipping with the Piskies for a change. The curate announced that they were forming a group to go down to the Christian coffeehouse/mission in Very Depressed Town on Tuesday to start mission training.

And I thought, You wanted to do something there; here's your chance.

So I carpooled down this evening and started the training.

It's five or six Tuesday evenings, plus all day Saturday the 28th. The hope thereafter is that you'll volunteer at least two hours a week at the coffeehouse.

Maybe. We'll see.

But for some reason, I'm feeling it's wisest for me to take one week at a time. I'm not sure why. It's not like I don't have the time for such a commitment. Maybe my mind is so full of vague hopes about work and jobs, I feel I have to keep my options open.

At any rate, I'm planning to go Tuesday by Tuesday and see what happens. I'll keep my ears, mind, and heart open, receive the training, and get a better picture week by week of what God wants me to do with it.

This won't be an airplane trip, where, once you're belted into your seat, your destination is a foregone conclusion. It will be a pilgrimage taken on foot, me setting forth with my staff and sandals, taking in every mile of the landscape, every step of the way. Where the journey will take me in the end, I don't pretend to imagine.

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