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In an uncertain world there is safety and comfort in the familiar. This means that introducing change can be remarkably difficult and even quite upsetting. We know we can’t please all of the people all of the time and sometimes of course it feels as if we can’t please any of them any of the time!
However, those times are the exception and I am blessed to be part of a church fellowship where taking a bit of a risk is acceptable and where there is plenty of encouragement for individuals who step up to take on responsibility or step out to try something new. I am always thankful when I see that willingness coupled with that kind of loving support.
This week I read a blog posted by Lucy Moore (the founder of Messy Church) I found it thought provoking and challenging but also rather helpful. I hope you will too - especially if you struggle with changes and 'mess'.
'If we expect church to be tidy, we’re deluding ourselves: church is family. Family is never tidy... Family sticks together, come what may.
Family loves unconditionally, even when we disagree profoundly, not because we are lovable but because we are loved. We kiss and make up and move on together, growing together, because that is the way the head of this family wants it to function.
The messy edges in me need the rough edges in you to crash up against like a pebble-polisher.
The smug cosiness in me needs the rude challenge of a toddler, a teenager, an older person to make me keep on being a learner to the end of my life.
The theological certainties I hold most dear need the sea-storm of your diametrically opposed ones so I can see if mine are built on rock or on sand...
Let our churches be content with mess.
Messiness means being content not to control others, not to exert power and authority over them, but to dance with them in the middle ground where nobody is entirely comfortable or confident.
Let’s determinedly inhabit that chaotic edge space where godly life is sparked: the oaks at Mamre, Jacob’s well, Zacchaeus’ tea table, the savage hill littered with skulls outside the city. Uncomfortable spaces, spiky spaces, wilderness places.
Messiness is about justice and equality, because nobody is rich enough, or wise enough, or holy enough to hold the whole truth single- handed.
Messiness means creativity, risk and humility in the way we approach other people and ideas.
Messiness is content with loose ends, unresolved issues, development, spontaneity, fluidity and tensions, because family life is full of them and they are a vital part of how we become who we are meant to be together.
It treats other people as potential rather than problem.
It accepts that process is as important as product.
It sits lightly but holds on tightly.
It is a place of power because it refuses to take hold of power.
Messiness is a throwing-off of protective shoes to step vulnerably, with messy feet that need the washing of the only person who is qualified to do it, into the holy ground of loving God, loving our neighbour and loving ourselves.'
May God bless you, and may you find the words to bless others in the midst of the messiness this week. Love, Gerry