Every single person on the planet today is longing for love and for meaning. God has put eternity in our hearts. We innately know what we were created for. We are all longing to be reconciled to ourselves, to God and to each other. To experience shalom, wholeness, union with God and with one another.
And yet our culture is deeply fragmented, divided, polarized, given to racism, greed, violence and war. And our souls are fragmented too, captive to anxiety and fear, hustling to be enough and to escape the tyranny of our shame.
“They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world: someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for.” - Kant
We all long for meaning, to be a part of something good in the world. We long to join in God’s reconciling work in the world. To offer our gifts in a meaningful way. To step into our true calling. And to be a part of something bigger than ourselves.
And yet, the forces of individualism are crushing. We suffer anxiety, loneliness and depression like never before. For the individual was never meant to bear the full weight of meaning. And the gods of consumerism have enslaved us to our insatiable desire for more, stripping away our very humanity for the profit of the dollar. We have been turned into consumers instead of the creators that we truly are.
It is our calling as The Practicing Church to invite people into LOVE AND MEANING.
To proclaim the glorious mystery of God’s grace -- that the gospel is actually good news to our neighbors. And the only way we see that happening is if we together decide to embody love in place - in our work places, schools, and neighborhoods. To actually live in such a way that folks begin to see that God is not like the projections of a wrathful, harsh or distant god. God is good. Like the pinch-me-wake-me-up-I-must-be-dreaming-kind-of-good. Apart from love, everything else is like a resounding gong, a clanging cymbal [I Corinthians 13].
This has become absolutely non-negotiable for me. We must walk the talk or shut up and go home. Of course, we are not going to be perfect. We are human, both beautiful and broken. But we have to own up to our brokenness and be real. If we are going to talk about this God of Love, we must practice the way of love. If we are going to say we are followers of Jesus, then we actually need to be practicing and living this provocative, counter-cultural way of love. If we are going follow the command to love our neighbors as ourselves, then we better well know and love our neighbors!
For this way of love frees us to be who we are created to be.
At The Practicing Church, we desire to be a transformational community. To call people to awake from their slumber to the life that God has called them to. We want to be a prophetic community that says to the world, there is another way to live. To truly embody love and to live out the teachings of Jesus together in such a way that reveals God’s goodness to the world. And we want to invite each and every person on the transformational journey.
Come home to your true selves, own the brokenness and the beauty of your stories, and step fully into your work in the world.
This is the reason we exist. This is the fire in our bones.
by Jessica Ketola