This morning, at the corner of Trier and Hedwig, we will turn left instead of right.
For the last eleven years, on Sunday mornings we have gone to the right. Sure, sometimes we went straight at that intersection. Sometimes we went in two cars and each took a slightly different path. Sometimes we went other directions because of vacation. But for the past eleven years, our path has gone southwest rather than northeast.
In less than an hour, we’ll turn left.
And we don’t know what will happen.
I mean, we know that my new title is executive pastor at Grabill Missionary Church. But we don’t know what that means for us. Because it’s not a job.
We have lots of pictures of what church is. But I have to work from what God says church is. And it isn’t a job. It’s a family. It’s the Body of Christ. It’s a temple (the people are, not the building). It’s a flock of sheep. It’s a bag of change. It’s a vineyard and a vine. So this isn’t like a job.
And it’s not just about me. That group of people playing with new cell phones, laughing with each other, they have been part of the southward journey for the past decade. They are not longer nine and five. They include a girlfriend. My whole family is part of this, because they are all part of this family/body/temple/flock/change/vine. At least once a week, they show up at the place that holds my office and it has to be more than my office building. Somehow, it’s gotta be the place where the family reunions are held, where the body stops and looks in the mirror, where the temple find out whether there are any new bricks.
And so, this morning, I’m wondering what kind of organ transplant is happening today. How long will the surgery last? Will the antirejection drugs work, will we be the right size? Will the blood start flowing right away?
Or will the bricks we are fit into the building being built in Grabill? Will it be clear that it was the same craftsman that shaped us or will we wear too many marks of our own attempts to fit into the spaces?
But people have been making this kind of journey and these kinds of changes in response to what they believed God was asking them to do for millenia. Paul talked about his own imperfection and his own spiritual aspirations and wrote, “I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.”
So this morning, though I will confess to a measure of anxiety, I know the Surgeon. I know the Shepherd. I know the Builder. I know the Vine and the Gardener and the Head. And so, as we turn left this morning, I’m confident that the one who started a process of transformation in me will see it through to completion.
And you are going along for the ride.