Communities Colliding

Last week Advent became the venue for Sola Gratia as it does each month.  The church building (an old, too small, renovated fire garage- yes the place they used to park the fire engines in-, multi-purpose space became the place where a variety of people, representing a variety of communities collided.  It was truly an amazing night as we gathered around the music of Seth and May and celebrated the life of a sweet little boy for the sake of being community, together, united in love. Still, a week later, I am moved by the expression that night was- an expression of true community- where love was all that mattered.

Now, you might be wondering big deal- why does this matter and what’s with the image above anyway.  Well, if you are still reading this let me try to articulate a bit of why it matters and also what that image above is all about.  For too long I think churches have fallen into the trap of being a sacred temple that is largely closed to the outside community- a place that is used primarily for those on the “inside” and in many ways becoming an image of exclusion for those on the outside.  Those of us that call Advent home try desperately to not allow that to happen, but simply saying it is not so is not good enough.  So an event like last Wednesday which combined so many people- there were old and young, unchurched, dechurched, churched, atheists, agnostics, and so many more- is a big deal!  Together we gathered, and we gathered in love.  No questions asked, no identification needed to see if you belonged simply put all were welcome.  This IS a big deal for our little community to be part of the work of being COMMUNITY in a big way- not just in empty words but in the living out of that identity.   I was proud of the church I am so blessed to serve as I welcomed people to this place and blatantly said that the evening was not at all about the church- but in reality I think it is completely about the church- or at least what the church should be.  A living, breathing, active organism that eagerly seeks ways to be the place where love can be experienced and felt.  The image above, though I am certain not meant for a church by any means seemed very appropriate for this post- Love indeed sees no border- the love of Christ which the church is called to live out sees no distinction between those on the inside and those on the outside- in fact there should be no inside and no outside- all are called, named, and welcomed for who they are and where they are.

Sure, the church fails at this often but the calling remains the ideal is there- in Christ.  This Holy Week I pray that churches everywhere including this little on in Lake Ann make every effort to be the place where Love prevails and even wins.

Holding you all in the light,
JG

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About grimmja

Justin Grimm serves as the Director for Evangelical Mission and Assistant to the Bishop for Next Generation Ministries in the Saint Paul Area Synod of the ELCA. Before this call, he served as a pastor in Lake Ann Michigan at Advent Lutheran Church. After graduating from Luther Seminary in 2005, he was called to start a new congregation in one of the most beautiful parts of the world. After much prayer and thought with his wife, he accepted and the journey has been rich. The source of his life and his energy comes from his bride Anna and his two children Logan and Payton. At the core of who he is, Justin sees each day on this earth as a gift and tries hard (though failing often) to live that promise out. Contact can be made at pastorjustin.grimm@gmail.com
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