When we come together, we do so for the sake of building up one another to be a vibrant community together. This word "vibrant" from our vision statement means pulsing with life, making noise, as a string vibrating to produce music. While I know people are eager to get inside the sanctuary again, I want to spend a moment and just notice a few ways that doing outdoor worship has given our community a new vibrancy.
As I meet people walking through the neighborhood or going to the park with Edan, people in the neighborhood are aware of our congregation in a new way. Every Sunday morning as we broadcast music and the Word out to the neighborhood, the community around us hears us. On Palm Sunday, when we processed after worship with our cars through the neighborhood with our palms, the community waved and wondered at this impromptu expression of joy. As the sun set on Holy Saturday we gathered with candles on the plaza to sing songs and tell stories, the light and the laughter shining to the neighbors going by. Being outside our building has given our community a presence in the neighborhood that hasn't been felt this way in years. The people I meet in the neighborhood are taking notice of Christ the King.
But what sound is being heard? What significance does this presence have in the lives of those who chance by? Even though we bear the title "church", the noise we make isn't guaranteed to carry Christ. We can all think of people and communities that call themselves Christian but offer none of the relief, love, and liberation of Jesus. We have to constantly be sure that our words, our actions, our joy, our openness to care and love, our commitment to transforming our own hearts and minds for the sake of the world, and our commitment to showing up for justice in a fraught world are the noises that come through the loudest.
To add to our vibrancy this May, we will begin having a designated "lawn chair section" at outdoor worship that gives you a chance to get out of your cars and see your neighbors a bit more clearly. We are also adding an outdoor fellowship after worship. Bring your own coffee and gather with the community for a time of fellowship in our courtyard and plaza to catch up with old friends and chat about worship and life.
-Pastor Rory Philstrom