“A Porch to Nowhere”
Dear Siblings in Christ,
A few weeks back I posted the picture of the big house that was about to be demolished. I thought it might serve as a metaphor for the clearing away of life as we knew it—in preparation for a mysterious new life we could not really imagine—life without a blueprint.
I figured there would be one huge loud day when the whole place would be bulldozed and come crashing down, and all the debris quickly carted away. Nope. Turns out a more apt metaphor was about how slow and gradual this pandemic experience is for all of us. The property owners hired a company that recycles homes. A team of workers have been onsite each and every day taking the house apart, bit by bit, so that most of the materials can be reused elsewhere. Yesterday, the only thing left standing was the front porch and the front door. (Sorry the picture is a bit blurry—I took it from my car).
The scene was even more impressive from the front, but then you couldn’t tell that it had become a porch to nowhere. And that got me thinking, again metaphorically, about how this pandemic is testing the church. It’s clear that a church cannot offer a “porch to nowhere.” It cannot begin and end with a beautiful entry. There must be more to it than that. Likewise, baptism cannot be a “porch to nowhere”—the life of faith needs ongoing watering, nourishment, and to be in dialogue with the good and bad experiences of life.
I pray frequently that Redeemer, as a community of faith, offers more than a “porch to nowhere.” 19th and Wisconsin is a great location for a church. The 1917 structure offers inspiring architectural beauty. But this pandemic tests us, once again, beyond those two huge assets. Do we pray together? Do we advocate for justice? Do we serve our neighborhood? Do we act with bold creativity to design future ministry? Do we support the ministry financially (if our income hasn’t changed)?
So far, so good, I must say. THANK YOU!! But just as the house has taken weeks to dismantle, there are many more weeks ahead for us as church to hang in together, beyond the porch.
Please keep reaching out to one another with loving concern and encouragement.
Peace in the Christ who “prepares many dwelling-places” (John 14),
PS: We are hearing from Redeemer members and friends that the coronavirus has infected family members and even resulted in the deaths of loved ones. Please keep all in your prayers; while so much of the talk is about “flattening the curve” and “reopening,” a great deal of suffering continues in these very days. Continued prayers for protection and in thanksgiving for medical caregivers and workers on the frontlines, and for parents engaged in homeschooling.