Words matter. What we say about ourselves, others, organizations to which we belong convey our hearts, our beliefs, our hopes, and priorities. If you had to describe yourself or what you do with a word, what would it be? Hard, right? If you realize that who you are isn’t a static reality, but an ongoing process (at least, I hope you do!) then you have a story of an ever evolving you that can potentially be expressed in a word or two. The question becomes, are you willing to dig for it? And when you find it, can you own it?
Our church is looking at words to redefine and refine our mission and vision as a Body of Christ. We have come to three: Belong … Believe … Become. Let me briefly share about that first word: Belong. (I will share about the other two in subsequent posts.)
We (First Baptist) are hoping and trusting that God is making within our shared life together, a community where all can belong. Jesus’ life and ministry was engaged in the struggle to include the outsider, the outcast, the stranger, the disabled, the woman, the child, the sick, the poor and oppressed. In Mark 6, Jesus sends the disciples out to the surrounding villages to teach the gospel and heal. Interestingly, he tells them to take nothing for the journey (except a walking stick). This means no food, no bags, no money. Why? Because it assures that his disciples will be dependent upon the hospitality of the people to whom they go. As my friend Ched Myers says about this passage in his book, Say to this Mountain: Mark’s Story of Discipleship, “Rendered a ‘stranger at home,’ Jesus is instructing his community to learn to be ‘at home among strangers.’” Translation: we all belong to God. We are to make our home among the strangers to foster the reality that God’s Beloved Community is for all. Our church sees this as critical to our calling: creating home, a sense of belonging. We ALL BELONG!
Can you dig it? Can you find it? Can you own it? The alternative is being a chameleon and that’s terrible because you never really know who you are or what you need to be in a given moment. It’s exhausting too! (Just think about high school!) Does your environment and others define you or is God offering to co-create with you the space you inhabit and occupy? Finding your word doesn’t mean that it has to define you forever, but for now it can be a guide. Bring your “word”, your story because it’s you, and you are welcome here because … You BELONG.
What’s my word? Don’t take my word for it, get your own! Ha! (I’ll share my “words” as we continue looking at the Gospel of Mark … so see you Sunday???)
I'm a follower of Christ, husband, father, friend, pastor, story teller, asker of questions, inspired by biblical narratives, social justice advocate, sports enthusiast, drinker of over priced coffee and general seeker of God's redemptive possibilities. Yeah, that about covers it. (If you discover something else, let me know!)