When we relaunched The Practicing Church just two years ago, we had a dream. Of being a community that was actively seeking to live into the way of Jesus together. Of being the church, not simply going to church. Of becoming incarnational, the-presence-of-God-in-human-form kind of people in our neighborhoods, schools and workplaces. Joining in God's work of reconciliation, peace, healing and renewal. And while, we are a people in process, this is happening! So many of you are on the ground in your classrooms, in your counseling offices, in your nonprofits, in your homes, workplaces, and neighborhoods. You are present. You are listening. You are engaging in the work of Jesus.
We had a dream that we would be a community. That church wouldn't look like consumption but contribution. That every member could offer their gifts to create a beautiful mosaic. And that every person would be saying yes to their unique call and vocation, moving on the contemplative journey inward, the activist journey outward and the communal journey together. And this too is happening! We are regularly inspired by the musicians, poets, writers, contemplatives, activists, engineers, teachers and artists among us. I love Sundays, especially the ones where multiple and diverse voices and gifts are offered. And I love that you all are committed to being on the transformational journey. I get the sacred privilege of hearing many of your stories of courage, healing and growth in your lives, and you inspire me.
We had a dream that we would begin to embed in our neighborhoods to practice the simple mandate to love our neighbor. We had a dream of living in proximity and intentionally building community in a way that was sustainable and rich. And while the scale has been smaller and the pace slower than we had imagined, we are also beginning to see some beautiful things emerge! Our neighborhood dinners every Wednesday now include 12-15 of our surrounding neighbors and we look forward to connecting each week. And life in our neighborhood is sweet. The daily rhythms are rich, from seeing our housemates everyday, impromptu dinners, football games watched together, movie nights, and missing ingredients borrowed to early morning walks with neighbors, tamale making parties, shared gardens, and neighborhood murals. We are beginning to hear the deeper stories of our neighbors, and a robust community is forming.
We had a dream of participating in the flourishing of our community. Of participating in equity, justice and renewal. And while we have so many burgeoning dreams, we are becoming a part of the fabric of care in Shoreline. Through Turning Point's work of equity, inclusion, empowerment and education, we are bringing neighbors together to care for one another. Through the Shoreline Social Justice Book Club, community meals, the Community Resource Team for Shoreline youth, Richmond Highlands Neighborhood Association, Coffee and Breakfast on Aurora, and peacemaking events, we have the privilege of being a part of what the Spirit is up to in this community.
And I am so grateful. Overwhelmingly grateful. As I call each of your faces to mind; as I remember all the promises of God to me personally and to us as a community; as I meditate on the faithfulness of God to us over and over again; I am filled with hope.
Happy New Year! May 2019 be a year of deep connection, soulful living, and wild adventure!
by Jessica Ketola