Important Disclaimer

Since I currently have several employers/supervisors/churches/etc., please know that none of the words on my blog represent them or their beliefs. This blog is my own creation.

It also does not represent my children's perspective, nor my mother's; they think I am funny, but misguided.
(Quick update: only my mother thinks I'm funny now.)

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Will I See You Tomorrow?

Thinking through 1 John 4:7-12...

In January I stayed with the Church of All Nations in Minneapolis, MN. CAN graciously offered me a little basement hideout where I could spend some weeks of vacation and study leave, living in community at the Chatham House with several other adults in their 30's. (Shut up. I could totally pass for my 30's.)

CAN has several community housing arrangements, including a residential seminary, some folks living in converted Sunday School classrooms at the church, and several other church members who have opened their homes to those who wish to live in community. Communal living is at the heart of
what CAN is doing as a church, and I enjoyed my time there immensely. Chatham House is close to the church and to the seminary (Fink House), so I could walk to church events easily (even in January in Minnesota!). I ate almost all of my meals with church folks, most often home cooked meals offered by one church member or another. There was always extra for guests, always leftovers for tomorrow, and always company if desired.

I've been thinking about my time at CAN a lot in the last 6 months. I miss that community often as I go about my daily life at home. I have my own communities here that function in different ways, and I love my "regular" life. But there was something very unique about CAN and I've been pondering that uniqueness. Perhaps it was this question:

"Will I see you tomorrow?"

As I participated in the rhythm of the church, it became apparent that a significant part of the church has put CAN at the center of their daily lives. In my "regular" life back home, it's pretty common to say to people, "See you next Sunday!" or "Are you coming next week?" But at CAN, I often asked (and was asked), "Will I see you tomorrow?" It went like this:

"Will I see you tomorrow?"
"Yeah! Wouldn't miss it! You?"
"Yes, I will be there!"

or like this:

"Will I see you tomorrow?"
"What's tomorrow?"
"You know, the (cell group/potluck/Bible study/worship/dinner at someone's house/thing we are doing)."
"Oh cool! Yeah!"

or like this:

"Will I see you tomorrow?"
"No, I have to (work/see a friend/study/read/get ready for another thing/whatever)."
"Oh darn. I'll miss you!"
"Yeah, but I'm coming to that other thing on Friday."

or like this:

"Will I see you tomorrow?"
"I'm not sure. I don't have a ride."
"Well, I could come get you."
"Are you sure?"
"Yeah, it's on my way."

or like this:

"Will I see you tomorrow?"
"I'm not sure I'm up for it."
"You ok?"
"(Yeah, just been working a lot/No, not really it's been tough because (reason))"

A thousand iterations, but always the assumption that there's a very good possibility we might see each other tomorrow. And always with a care for the answer. 

I've been thinking a lot about the power of being in daily contact with one another, even if just for a brief meal. Familiarity with one another's lives and schedules means people know they matter. Several times I'd ask, "Hey, where's so-and-so? Will they be here tonight?" And the group would stop for a second and think about if they knew the answer. Someone would say, "Oh, yeah, they'll be here after 8, that's when they get off work." Or, "Nah, tonight's the night they go do Trivia Line Dancing at the Karaoke Bar." Or, "Maybe, if cell group gets out on time."

It was intimate, this knowing about each other's lives. For those of us who include churchy things in our weekly schedules as a discrete and separate category on our calendar, we are missing out on this kind of intimacy. We are missing out on being cared for and caring for one another in some significant way.

I expect some folks will push back and say that it is difficult and/or incorrect to make church the centerpiece (and yeah yeah, Jesus is the centerpiece, work with me here) if one has family. But I saw several families participating in this way. I think/hope/long for this kind of community to be possible, even as I am not always sure how to make it happen in my "regular" life.

CAN has it's share of mess and fuss (and messy and fussy people), but there is a way that daily contact reduces frustration to loving exasperation. There was a way in which if today didn't go so well between us, it was clear that we'd probably have tomorrow to work on it some more. I liked it. And when my time there came to a close, and someone asked, "Will I see you tomorrow?" I was really sad to have to say, "No, I am headed back to New Jersey."

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him.In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us. ~1 John 4:7-12

1 comment:

  1. I love your writing, Katie! "... that we might live through him ... in love, yes!"

    My hope is that enough of us get to experience the intimacy of God in our daily lives, even in the smallest of encounters and exchanges, such as you have when asked "Will I see you tomorrow?"

    Be well!


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