We have been getting ready for 18 months. We have met, discussed, and planned. We’ve had dreams, hopes, and visions for this time together. We have also prayed for those speaking, for those hosting, and for those discerning.
Now the time is here, the day is here. There is little more that we can do, we are ready for those that God has sent our way this weekend. There is a sense in me this morning that the God we have called to so many times in the last 18 months is truly here. God waiting, God ready, God inviting all of us to come and see, to hear God’s own voice, to know our calling.
Our preparation, our work, has opened the doors, has provided a space for the holy to come and settle with us and in us . . .
I can’t help but remember Jacob who gathered a pile of stones as an altar to remind him of the place where he had met God. I can’t help but recall the ancient Israelites who built a tabernacle knowing that God had promised to be there to meet them, guide them, and empower them to become. I can’t help but remember the nation of Israel building a temple, wanting to make sure that God’s presence could now be found in the stability of their new settlement in the land. I can’t help but remember the Jews in exile who wondered how the songs of Zion were going to be sung in this strange land, with no temple, away from home?
I can’t help but remember Jesus, who came in Mary’s womb, and true to his promise now lives in us, and through us. So we have prepared a place, a place to gather, a place to struggle, a place to meet God.
It is my prayer that those who gather here can begin to look back and see that God has been up to something in the lives from the beginning. That God has been with them along the way calling, guiding, holding, comforting, reminding. Now this space becomes a “place of meeting” a set apart moment in time, where we together can come a meet God in a very special way. And in that meeting we’ll experience the loving grace of God and our eyes will be opened to the possibilities of our unfolding vocation.
In the midst of change, struggle, and a sense of urgency we gather. The church trying to figure out its identity, its vision, and its way forward. In the midst of that we gather with a new generation. A generation asking about meaning, identity, and their place in the world. A generation asking how they can lead in their church, our church, God’s church.
There is a little chorus that has been in my mind and lips this morning. This chorus I learned as a child in Puerto Rico, its called Dios Esta Aqui (God is Here today) and it goes like this:
God is here today, as real as the air I breath, as real as the morning sun that rises, as real that when I speak God hears.
In the midst of our talk of decline, dwindling resources, and death tsunamis, I’m hopeful . . . because in the end aren’t we people of resurrection?
Please keep all of those discerning this weekend, our speaker, and our leaders in your prayers. Follow what is happening on twitter #explo2011 and Exploration 2011!