Henri Nouwen was a successful priest, theologian, and community activist. He was in charge of big projects, major initiatives, and the intricate details to make things happen. And yet, he came to realize that beyond agendas, plans, meetings, what we need more is the power of presence. He wrote:
More and more, the desire grows in me simply to walk around, greet people, enter their homes, sit on their doorsteps, play ball, throw water, and be known as someone who wants to live with them. It is a privilege to have the time to practice this simple ministry of presence…I wonder more and more if the first thing shouldn’t be to know people by name, to eat and drink with them, to listen to their stories and tell your own, and to let them know with words, handshakes, and hugs that you do not simply like them, but truly love them.
The church has a lot of important business. We’ve got a campus to manage, bills to pay, funds to raise, personnel to coach, volunteers to organize, ministries to plan, programs to lead, and so much more.
But have we ever considered that busyness of the church can prevent us from seeing and engaging the purpose of the church to build healthy Jesus-centric relationships?
And can we recognize that participating in the vital business of the church is not a healthy substitute for the critical role of community within the church?
UBC’s annual Spring Gathering is just a few days away. One of the more remarkable events our church hosts, the Spring Gathering, is an opportunity to build relationships and strengthen intergenerational connections, minister to our community, and simply have fun together.
It would be easy to see this event as something for a subset of people within UBC and not for me. But for each person that chooses not to share their presence, the opportunity for intergenerational connections is weakened. For each person that sees this event as not for me, the chance to be mutually blessed and share a blessing with others is missed.
So, I want to extend an invitation to you to participate. Show up, share a meal, join in activities, share in conversations, and see what happens.
We will have lunch for all, a silent bake auction to raise money for our Ecuador partnership, lawn games, and much more.