The Twin Cities Rainbow Chaser

moving across the country…to discover what God has in store

My Own Sardis

Mont-St-Michel

The pastor at my church has been going through the churches of Revelations (see chapters 2-3…actually, you should check out chapter 1, too).  It has been fascinating to consider how the messages that appear to be designed for the people of Ephesus or Pergamum apply to our lives.  Yesterday, we were on The Church of Sardis, which my pastor described as “The Dead Church”.  According to him, this is the saddest of seven epistles.

Consider, for a moment, that you meet Jesus.  Somehow, through some immense moment, He is there.  He looks at you and says, “You are dead.”

Cut to the heart.  That is what this church must have felt.  They had fallen so far away from the passionate love that comes from living and breathing in the Spirit…to be called “dead”.  I loved the metaphor, used by my pastor, of Spirit as water.  The Spirit does for the soul what water does for the body (yeah, I’ve heard that before…but it clicked this time).  We have the choice to drink in that Spirit…or, we can just suck up coffee, soda, and kool-aid.

Basilique du Sacré-Coeur

The sermon was deep and powerful.  As it came to a close though, he said that we cannot blame a dead church for our lack of growth; instead, we can choose to “wake up” (Revelation 3:2).  This statement started my wheels turning.  Although I haven’t dwelt on this much, I realize that at the end of May, I will have to return to my hometown; in turn, I will have to return to the church where I grow.  A church that I now characterize as “dead”.

Don’t get me wrong, it was a beautiful place to grow up.  There were so many loving, helping, guiding hands around me.  But there came a point where I was doing more leading than other church members.  I was a leader in the youth group and my spiritual growth no longer seemed so great a concern.  The focus was on bringing more people in and discipling them.  When I graduated, I didn’t know how to be discipled.  All I knew how to do was lead small groups and participate in everything possible.

University chapel

But, then I came to college.  I found a church that enveloped me with love; I found a family that didn’t ask for every ounce of strength.  Instead, they gave…they inspired…they lifted.  Whenever I go home and attend that old church, my heart breaks.  I know that there is something different from dried out hymns and over-wrought sermons.  I know that there are people who give hugs to homeless people and smile at noisy babies.

I know there is something different…something with life…but, what will I do when I go back for an entire summer?  As I started thinking about this yesterday, I thought that maybe I should just find a different church.  It’s just for a summer…but if it’s just for a summer, why don’t I just throw myself into that old church and try to bring some life into the old dried out leaves? (John 15:1-17)

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Not a “People Person”

You remember those two “new”er best friends that I talked about in my last post?  Well, I’m living with them now.  For the sake of simplicity, I will refer to them as E and M.  E, M, and I (haha, that’s kind-of funny) have been getting along pretty well in our house.  Sure, there have been a few small issues but…everything has just smoothed itself out naturally.

Then again, maybe we’ve all been trying not to rock the boat.  While we all come from two-parent, middle-class households, all of our home lives have been incredibly different.  We all have our own ideas about how to make spaghetti sauce and what type of noodles to use.  And, cleaning is kind-of hit and miss in the bathroom.  In our living room…yikes.  They leave shoes, backpacks, sunglasses…just let it land and leave it there.  That bugs me.  I like to have everything neat and tidy before I go to bed.  Why?  Too much clutter sends me into this “tidying coma”…I literally cannot function until I straighten things up.  Not fun.

But, ya know, I’m trying to let go of some of my “control freak” nature.  Not that I’m a really bad “control freak”…actually, I’ve never considered myself a “control freak” at all.  In a house, though, I just want things done the right way, i.e. my way (in my mind, at least).  This weekend, both of my roommates went home to be with their families over our three-day weekend (yay, Labor Day!).  While I did get a little creeped out going to bed with a creepy house creaking and moaning around me (not to mention some loud neighbors), I really loved the time that I had alone.  I made myself spaghetti and meat sauce…my way.  I cleaned the kitchen…my way.  I watched TV…my way.  I had a blast!

So, now…they’re back–at least E is back.  I’m not going to say that I dislike having them home.  It’s nice to have some human interaction (I guess…maybe I’m saying that just to sound normal).  But, when she rolled back in, her family rolled back in with her.  You see, she didn’t exactly go home this weekend.  Her family swung through town and picked her up on their way to their cabin.  That’s cool and all…but, they swung back through and all crashed in our living room.  Not cool!

At the moment that they walked in the door, I was looking forward to getting my last pan of cookies out of the oven and sitting down with a few and a cup of delicious French-bought coffee.  Did I get to do that?  No.  E’s brother and sister crashed on the couch (although her brother offered to move when I came through from the kitchen) and her mom crashed in this really comfy chair that is awkwardly sitting in our awkwardly large dining room.  Her dad headed to the basement to do…something.  Set up a dehumidifier?  Fix her flat bike tire?  I dunno.  But, seriously, I’m pretty sure we could have handled some of that stuff.

Mom, brother, and sister are still hunkered downstairs and dad’s running up and down the stairs doing…something.  I’ve seen E come up a few times, but for the most part I’m just hiding in my bedroom.  Why?  What would be wrong with going downstairs and having a little conversation with them?

#1: I had a little conversation with all of them when they picked E up Saturday morning.  How much could have really changed or happened since then?

#2: I need to do homework.  I was on a roll, proofreading in between pans of cookies.  But, my roll was disrupted and got tossed on the floor the minute they walked in.

#3: I do not like participating in awkward and unnecessary conversations.

#4: This is MY house too and I do not like having a bunch of unnecessary people in it!  I should be able to sit down and enjoy a cup of delicious coffee and semi-delicious (I was missing a few key ingredients) cookies without concern for the comfort of other people…who shouldn’t be on my “Concern Radar” in the first place!

I don’t like unnecessary people invading my space.  Is that really so hard to understand?

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