01 May Community with Frosting on Top
Are you ever so excited or happy or overjoyed that you think you might burst? The weekend just past was like that at Calvary. A wedding, a third-grader receiving a Bible, voting on new Elders, celebrating Calvary’s 70th birthday, participating in the ordination of one of Calvary’s young adults, and commemorating the 10th anniversary of my own ordination, all in one weekend. And those were just the celebrations that occurred as part of the worship of the church. There was also a couple observing their anniversary, someone having a birthday, and someone else rejoicing over a significant new ministry opportunity. I thought we might hyperventilate from the sheer joy of it all!
Milestones are meant to be celebrated and especially to be celebrated together. We can certainly express our gratitude to God for important events individually and privately, but it takes a community to have an awesome party. And party we did, all weekend long.
Momentous occasions are set apart from the ordinary, daily stuff of life. So, there were beautiful flowers adorning the sanctuary for the wedding, a special bouquet to honor Calvary’s 70 years of faithful ministry, and the church surprised me with a gorgeous arrangement to celebrate my ordination anniversary. There were special clothes, too. Folks were “dressed to the nines” for the wedding, of course, but special clothes were also the order of the day for Dana’s ordination. That moment when someone places a clergy stole around your neck, after all the years of dreaming and studying and working, is a moment you never forget.
There are special words that accompany milestone events. Words are proclaimed that turn someone into a husband, a wife, a minister, an elder. When we attend events where these words are spoken anew, we are reminded of the times when we ourselves spoke similar words and our lives were forever changed. We are living, breathing proof of the power of words spoken over us, by us, and on our behalf.
And, of course, special occasions require special food which can be summed up in two words: Chocolate Cake. It took some impressive self-control not to overdose on icing this weekend. (Confession of a chocoholic: sometimes, self-control is overrated!)
As is often the case, our celebrations afforded us the opportunity to share space with family and old friends and also to meet new people and make new friends. It was a reminder that we never arrive at the significant events of life without the help, support and encouragement of others. Parents, siblings and extended family; teachers, coaches and mentors; colleagues and co-workers; friends, neighbors and pastors—we are who we are because of the people who have loved and shaped us, taught and guided us. We do not achieve anything in isolation. We do not love in isolation. Everything that is worthwhile in life is integrally bound up with the people who are part of our journeys.
My heart overflows with gratitude and joy for the momentous events of the weekend. This is the community God has called me to journey with. They are a blessing, a grace, a gift in my life. Plenty of times we hold one another up when life is painful and difficult which makes a weekend like this all the sweeter—and that’s only a little bit because of the chocolate frosting.
Yours for the Kingdom,