This weekend a dear person in my life died unexpectedly. Louise and I have been part of the same faith community for 18 years. She was a member of that community for decades before I arrived. Lou and I shared many different seasons in our relationship, and we had more connecting points that I can count.
I’m sharing this loss with you today, not because I want to eulogize Lou. Our faith community will do that beautifully in the days and weeks ahead. And I am capturing my own memories as they come up for me. What I want to do, however, is to praise the beauty of the relational character of shared ministry.
I’m fortunate to be part of the community of faith that meets at Glendale Baptist Church. In that community I know the joy of being in relationships over time that grow and change shape. Dozens of people at Glendale, including Lou, helped me to survive graduate school, and the long and sorrowful journey to parenthood, and the birth of my daughter, and many job changes and vocational shifts. I’m a better person, and parent and minister for all the support and belonging they have lavished on me.
My life is also richer for the many ways I have been a part of their lives as well: the walking together and the praying, the welcoming new life and grieving lives lost, the cooking and caring, the navigation of conflict and change, and the work of serving people who are hungry, aspiring to more justice, and re-creating life together. Through all these many processes my family has a place of belonging at Glendale. And together these relationships give shape to an authentic shared community....