Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Becoming a New Community of Faith

By The Rev. Deacon David Stickley

We went on our maiden voyage Sunday evening at 5:00. It was amazing, and wonderful, and didn’t really look like what I thought it might. I remember in the planning stages several months ago, Tommy Dillon played a song for us that inspired the name of our new group, “The Community of Travelers.”

Well I can't tell you where I'm going, I'm not sure of where I've been 
But I know I must keep travelin' till my road comes to an end 
I'm out here on my journey, trying to make the most of it 
I'm a puzzle, I must figure out where all my pieces fit 
Like a poor wayfaring stranger that they speak about in song 
I'm just a weary pilgrim trying to find what feels like home…

Aren’t we all?

I’m not sure I’m ready to reflect on Sunday evening just yet, but I’ve been thinking a lot about how we got there. Part way during the planning stages I went to the east cost to visit family. I was sitting in the SFO airport next to my partner, waiting for an update on our flight, which was delayed. I watched all the people walk by on their journeys and impulsively texted my friend: “It’s a parade of bad and non-fashion at the SFO airport.” It seemed harmless enough at the time, as things so often do when we’re in the moment. What made me think of this was the number of times, during our process to get to Sunday evening, we heard from people that the way they had successfully modeled an emerging church experience was the way that we should do it too. I flashed back to sitting in the airport, my choice of clothing having been informed by 18 years of retail clothing experience and a style-conscious mother who refused to be seen in public with children who were not “presentable.”

Short shorts, flip-flops, sweat pants, high heels, kilts, tattoos, piercings, hair right out of a Dr. Seuss story-book… You name it; I saw it walk by. Upon reflection, it was a beautiful thing. Each of those people were deciding what the stops on their trips would be, and what they would look like when they got there.

There were lots of constructive comments after the service, and the next may not look like the last. But what it will definitely look like is what the people that come together to travel thru want it to be. It may have tattoos and flip-flops; it may have sweat pants, high-heels, and funky hair. For sure, it will absolutely look like whatever our Community of Travelers needs for their journey into God and to that place where faith intersects life. And that will be a beautiful thing.

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