Images of fire and smoke keep coming, unbidden, to my mind these days: the pillars of fire and smoke that led Moses and the Israelites through the wilderness so they might travel day and night (Exodus 13: 21 – 22); the tongues of fire on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2: 1 – 4).
I guess it’s my subconscious dealing with the evidence of smoke still hanging in the air (and in files and furniture) after the small fire at Disciples Center on April 5th. We are blessed that no one was injured in the fire, but the smoke damage has forced the employees of Disciples Center to move to temporary space while our offices are remediated and restored.
Even through the confusion of our situation, the mission and work of the church continues. Grants from Week of Compassion have gone out to communities recently ravished by tornados. The Pension Fund and Churchwide Healthcare have provided uninterrupted service to their members. The General Assembly docket was assembled, reviewed and completed, all online between colleagues sitting at their home computers. DMF distribution took place.
As you might imagine, the confusion and sense of dislocation of such a move can be overwhelming. It’s also a reminder, though, that the people of God are always on the move. Jesus sent his disciples to the ends of the earth. They poured out onto the streets, witnessing, at Pentecost. As 21st century disciples of Christ, we follow in those footsteps. We are called to have the sight and the insight to notice what is before us – and to have the flexibility to see the need and meet the need head on.
As a Church, we are blessed to have general ministries who recognize the importance of our shared space and shared community, who have come together with one another to continue the mission of the church as we deal with the situation currently before us.
We have also been blessed by the prayers and words of encouragement that have come to us from so many in congregations and regions. Knowing that you are there, also continuing the mission of the Church in the midst of all of life’s surprises, gives us energy and strength to move forward.
Yesterday, Maundy Thursday, we remembered how much Jesus valued the community around him. Today we remember his solidarity with us, even unto death. As we await Easter’s celebration, I am grateful for the community of the church seeking – even through fire and smoke – to be faithful to the ministry God gives us and offering the embrace of Christ’s love to each other.
Thanks be to God!