Of our six weeks in Worcester, each one has been significantly different. Yet each week I feel a mixture of effectiveness and futility.
This past Wendesday I wanted to ride the bus (Worcester Regional Transit Authority) to the library and work there for a few hours. My intended bus ride was not simply about avoiding parking meters at the library (a bad idea if you ask me). Sometime earlier this year I came across a critique of Presbyterian church planters not engaging the poor and failing to include the poor in the churches they begin. The author speculated that part of the problem is that the places where these pastors spend their time (Starbucks for example) are not a places where you will encounter the poor. So he encouraged riding the bus, doing your laundry at the laundromat, and urged us to spend time in places frequented by all sorts of people. So in my inaugural bus trip, I was looking not only for a ride but also an opportunity be in a different kind of place. I stood at the bus stop at the end of the street, watching the minutes pass, and wondered if I had read the schedule wrong. I had the right time but ended up being on the wrong side of the street and at an “unscheduled” stop which the inbound bus does not service. I watched the bus drive by and walked home in disappointment. It was one of those mornings where I felt like I was spinning my wheels and getting nowhere.
The next night though, I was able to participate in a rock climbing competition at the local rock gym. Rock climbing and reading vie for the spot of #1 hobby and I had just joined the gym the previous week. Climbing is a great work out, provides a mental break, and is also an avenue for building friendships. So, the climbing competition was a blast on many levels. The highlight though was an email a day or two later from a guy at the gym inviting me to a group that regularly climbs together. This is the sort of thing for which I have been praying. These smaller moments of progress continue to remind me of all the things that God is doing that I don’t know about yet.
As we begin this church in Worcester it is easy to ride the highs and lows of each day, or even email. I need to continue in the paths God has ahead of us and trust his faithfulness. Maybe I’ll catch the bus on Thursday and enter a new sphere of relationships in Worcester. Maybe I won’t really fit with the climbing group and be back to working out alone. All of these are possible and I need to continue through excitement and disappointment. This is just the beginning of both…