The phone was ringing that over-familiar old school ring of an iPhone. My house phone had the same ring when I was growing up and, back then, it was exciting, it was someone reaching out to you. These days, this classic ringtone has become a nagging annoyance, a sign that someone wants something, except in those moments when you look down and see a good friend staring back. Gareth, from Rend, was calling; he was reaching out, with a new dream, an invitation beyond the music and music videos we had done together and into community. Actually let me restate that- he was calling with an idea that weaves or should weave with deep intention into the very fabric of our music and videos, our collective art and expression. It was all about community and family and church and it was a new collective called, “As Family We Go”; this was an extension of their growing community on the road. Then he said two words with a question mark that felt more like and exclamation mark…“Join us?”
As Family We Go. 4 words; so descriptive.
There is the beautiful inclusive presumption of movement found in the “As”
The warm embrace of “Family”
The in-this-all-together-ness of “We”
And the leaning into the pursuit of God and one another in the journey, “Go”
I was hooked. And we as a church in Dublin, Ireland were in.
But, in order to include, embrace and go together we need more than willingness or even faith. We need trust and I, at times, find this hard to do. Yet, faith and trust are inextricably connected; faith causes us to follow, trust causes us to participate.
In my recent book, “Broken” I look at the growing need for trust- actually, the severe necessity of trust- to be reestablished between society and the church, God and us, us and us. I look at how we as people of faith are called to be restorers of trust. “As Family We Go” is a conduit of this very trust; a missional and collaborative collective- being church not just doing church.
I think part of my beautiful dysfunction is that I grew up going to church three times a week and I got very good at segregating my “real life” from my “church life”, at doing and not being. Mission was something we did to others. Mission wasn’t a life of walking alongside, with, inside one another’s beautiful mess- even when it doesn’t feel like beauty. Mission is intentional living, a present being. Maybe we need to stop calling it mission and call it living.
“So let’s go outside, where Jesus is, where the action is— not trying to be privileged insiders.” (Hebrews 13:13-15, The Message)
I believe with my soul, skin and bones that we, as a Church- and we are the church- need to move from being a question about love to being a declaration of love. It would be easier sometimes to just walk away and leave our traditions to the past, relegated to the gutters of history but, as family we still go, and families, though flawed and busted and broken, are still families. Families are also places of hard-fought-for forgiveness, redeemed joy, and of a persevering commitment to one another no matter the weather. Together we are the active daily restorers of trust; and together we are an expression of God’s hope today.