Somehow, over a series of gatherings this summer, this amazing group of church members have given me hope. Tribal Church blogged about another vision of hope this morning. My organizing friend talked about still another version of hope last night on the treadmill last night. Hope is something we are all looking for. It's something we are searching for around every corner. And for me, it has come in the simple realization that these 12 people that have studied the Book of Ruth together over the summer have discovered what church can be. This is new for most of them. I don't know why but in this Big Church, they haven't experienced the possible hope of breaking down all those pretenses and opening the Bible.
When Labor Day arrived, they didn't want to stop. They liked this hope. We decided to continue to study the first three chapters of Genesis. That's what we did last week. We opened to Genesis 1 and talked it through. Day by day. The laughter was truly "carbonated holiness." I love this line from Anne Lamott. We moved from talking about God as Parent in Ruth to talking about God as Artist in Genesis. We talked about the nearness of breath and God being that close to the waters and to us. So close that God hovers.
I've always liked this about Genesis. It's truly one of my favorite images -- but today it seems real. It's not a metaphor but something almost tangible. I don't know if hope ever can be tangible but that's how it feels. After reading my review earlier this week, I'm reminded that even though I'm young in my ministry and lack maturity in some areas (I admit that but don't you dare agree), I know this congregation. I can see what they need. I saw it when I felt God first breathe into our covenant together. I knew that these small moments of what church could be was what this group of people needed to feel. And the strangest thing is that is happening. It's happening in me and around me. It's happening because God is that close and so hope is more than possible. Hope is tangible.