It has been one month since we arrived in our new home. By "home" I mean the whole deal: the house, the church, and the community. One thing I have learned is that all three intersect right outside our back door.
There are a number of houses to the north and west up the hill from the church, with a fair amount of foot traffic right behind our house from our neighbors as they walk between their homes and locations closer to the center of town. Early on I made it a practice to say "Hi!" to everyone passing through. I may be an introvert but it wouldn't do to have a pastor that avoided or ignored people who are right in front of him.
Once in a while people stop and talk. On some occasions the words exchanged are fairly light. Not so much on other times. I have been surprised by what I have heard in brief conversations. Relationships with our neighbors are developing. There is one young man who has come to the back door several times, looking for me to talk with him.
In the past month I have gradually come to know the members of our congregation. And in talking with the people walking through the property I have begun to know some of the neighbors. One thing I have learned is that there is a lot of brokenness in both places. Today's thoughts on brokenness were sparked when we discovered that someone kicked in a window last night at the church gym, a tangible marker of the physical, spiritual and emotional brokenness our eyes are being opened to see.
A large part of my work today has been getting prepared for worship on Sunday. That's no surprise for one who has been called to preach God's word. I spent a good portion of my day working on my sermon. This Sunday our congregation will also be sharing in the Lord's Supper, which will mark the first time I have presided over the Lord's table, so I spent some time on that too. I feel humbled to be bringing Christ's sacrament to His people.
Today I helped a church member repair the broken window in the gym. On Sunday I will be bringing Christ's people a meal that signifies the healing He has brought in the broken relationship between God and man, a brokenness that He has healed eternally. Matthew 26:26-28 says:
"Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins."
The gym window may get broken again but the brokenness that Christ has healed stays healed forever. It is my prayer that in the various ways I give witness to the healing He has done in me, that I am used by Him to bring His healing to our neighbors in our new home.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.