I was five, and I didn’t want to go
guest blogger: Meredith Massey
I was five, and I didn’t want to go. I cried, I pleaded and from my car seat I kicked the back of my mother’s seat ferociously. We were headed to the community swim complex. Upon arrival my mother put the car in park and turned out of concern and confusion, “Honey, why do you not want to go to swimming lessons?” Staring back at her I answered, “Because I don’t know how to swim.”
Maybe it’s my competitive nature, my fear of the unknown or uneasiness in trying new things…but I am often uncomfortable in settings I can’t control. My life has instances that resemble five year old Meredith’s hesitancy, denial and blatant disregard for things that may be difficult at first. One thing that fortunately has never felt difficult is my faith and trust in God, in Jesus, and in the Holy Spirit. I have my parents, several mentors, influential pastors, camp counselors and a loving community to thank for that.
In my first 25 years I’ve only ever known the Lutheran tradition and it’s as if I never had to learn it, because it was always there. I have loved traditional liturgy, hymns and the ritual of worship flowing from the green, red and occasional blue books in the pews in front of me. The order of worship was predictable. The words and tunes brought comfort. And the confession, and word, and sharing of the peace, and sacrament were routine. These components helped to nurture the DNA of my faith, and they are sacred traditions to me that I will never fully abandon.
However. Predictability, comfort and routine no longer sound like discipleship and mission to me, it sounds more like hospice care. Trial and error, discomfort, cluelessness, risk, occasional chaos, honest conversations and new relationships are the components to me of the community boldly rediscovering what it means to be the church in the world, particularly in the city of Houston.
+KINDRED is a community that is diving head first into a city often inundated in waters streaked with racism, prejudice, fear of the stranger and content. How is it that we engage our city in word and sacrament to share the grace of Jesus Christ and multiply the peace that surpasses all understanding? We have ideas…ways to tread water, ways to make waves, and people to make sure we don’t drown.
What about Dinner Church? I don’t mean let’s eat dinner in the fellowship hall and then head to the sanctuary for church. I mean let’s eat the sacred meal around a table that was once a pew. And while we’re eating, let’s engage in conversation that corresponds to the day’s text. What about Workship where we pray and serve with our neighbors as a form of worship? These are just a couple of the new components redefining my faith through +KINDRED to better reflect how the community around me interacts with God.
+KINDRED is teaching me a different language of love and service. +KINDRED is translating the fundamental components of the Lutheran identity into words and actions the people sleeping on our doorstep can understand. +KINDRED is reminding me that I’m not meant to float contently in the waters of my baptism. +KINDRED is the lifeguard to my faithful flailing and splashing and gasps for the Holy Spirit in the sea of uncertainty and challenge. For once I am not uneasy being a part of a community doing something we’re not exactly sure how to do, and I think that makes God smile.