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Here I Am

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Here I am. Amidst a rolling river rampage. Somehow, in my brain, this just doesn’t all add up. All I can do is grasp onto the words from the prophet Isaiah in which the youth immersed themselves in this week:

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you. (Isaiah 43:2)

It seemed VERY appropriate, that for the past 2 weeks as pastor of this faith community I have needed to wear a life jacket. I needed something to help keep me afloat. First, a life jacket was needed as I kayaked down the Current River in Missouri with the confirmation youth. And then, each day during the vacation bible school I engaged with the younger kids as Paddle Captain Kris, again putting on a life jacket to tell the story of how God is with us as we pass through the waters. Rough waters. Smooth waters. Rapidy waters.

And then, I listened to the words from Paul. From Jesus. What do we do with THESE words? It seems like everything… is… just… a… mess. Can we shift from falsehoods to truth? In our streaks of individualism, love of independence, fierce “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps” mentality… can we grasp God’s vision of the ways in which we are all connected?

And… can we side step the false teachings? Not stay angry? Not break God’s heart?

Can we embrace the love of Jesus that Paul says is and extravagant love? To embrace the adventures in life and not settle for a cautious love? This is the beauty of the “messy church.” The “messy church” theology is a embrace of Holy Folly. An understanding that we encounter God through all our senses, all of our emotions, all of our lives. THIS is how we make disciples. I loved the fact families from the neighborhood, who do not regularly attend worship with us, did come to vacation bible school this week – and those kids left with a smile saying “we’ll be back next year!” We opened the doors of the church “to share the love of God in Jesus in a way that is as accessible as possible to families” (Messy Church, pg. 10).

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you. (Isaiah 43:2)

The great I Am. The life giving, living bread. The holy splash of life in all of its messy, unexpected joys… and challenges.

THIS is what we do with these words. THIS is the intersection where we become Church. Living into the life of the world with extravagant, not cautious love. Full of song and laughter, tears and frustrations, hard work, positive support and encouragement, risk taking, joy provoking faith.

If you participated in vacation bible school in any way this week, for any amount of time, please stand up: Thank you “rafters” for all of the listening, learning, and engaging that you did this week. Splash on in faith!

If you did not have an opportunity to engage in VBS this week, I encourage you to talk to one of the people you see standing around you after church. Ask them about what they did here, in church, this past week. THIS is a story to be shared! And know that “HERE” Jesus says, “I am.”



~Pastor Kris


Reflection on Ephesians 4:25-5:2 and John 6:35, 41-51 offered August 12, 2018