For the better part of the last year, our church has been confused, angry, bewildered, lost, wondering, adrift. This has been nearly a classic church split. In the spring the senior pastor and a key associate pastor were asked by the regional church governing body to resign - due to a litany of poor management, bad people skills, and severe financial problems. In the past several weeks, the pastors were formally asked to resign. Their resignations are anticipated soon.
This has been a painful journey for our own family, particularly for my wife and I, who met at this church, have raised our family there, and would like to look forward to building the Kingdom in this place in future years. I have journaled some of our journey here, here, here, here (CT never did publish the letter), and here.
So, we are at a change of seasons in the life of our church. The coming months will be a time of interim, between pastors, discovering again what God has for our future, and listening to the still small voice. And yet, the pain persists. It is real, and seemingly unrelenting. Only God can heal this sort of thing. And this weekend is our annual church camp weekend; and attendance is down, which is to be expected. Our family has been heading up the mountain for 15 years or more - and to be frank, I would rather stay home and watch the Major League Playoffs and do chores. Why? Because I am tired, discouraged, and emotionally spent on this whole "church thing". I need a break. No more people for me please. I would prefer to be the introverted only child I was raised to be, darn it.
Yesterday, I had an epiphany of sorts, while driving home from dropping off a friend at LAX, rushing down the freeway in the darkness, I was playing the new CD from Sara Groves (buy all her CDs, you will be elated that you did so), and was struck by the words of "Kingdom Comes":
When anger fills your heart
When in your pain and hurt
You find the strength to stop
You bless instead of curse
When doubting floods your
Though all things feel unjust
You open up your heart
You find a way to trust
That's a little stone that's a little
That's a little seed that's a little water
In the hearts of the sons and the daughters
The kingdom's coming
Alright God, I get it. I will not isolate myself this weekend, I will not look inward. I will extend a hand, make new friends, and look for your Grace. Help me Lord, to rebuild the breach in the walls of the Kingdom.