They are the core of every life giving organization on the face of the planet. Show me a church that is vitalized in its life together and it will be a church that is growing in relationship with God and each other. Point to a mission that is fully thriving and it will be because those who are serving have found deep connections for living and serving together. Look at a family filled with joy and it will be because of the immense unconditional love that is shared amongst them. Check into a workplace where people love working and it will be because of the support and team play of coworkers.
God is relationship. Everything that God does is for the sake of relationship. Jesus came into the world for relationship. Jesus lived for relationship with God and one another. The calling of the disciples wasn't for the purpose of downloading a bunch of information about God, but for the distinct purpose of living in relationship with God. Jesus showed them how to love, how to serve, how to pour out life for others. Relationships were the driver for Jesus in everything that he said and did. Read the stories of Scripture through a relationship lens and it is like reading the Word in 3-D, everything begins to jump off the page and come alive.
The hardest part of moving is leaving all of our daily relationships behind. For fifteen years we experienced the richness of life and love with our congregation and family in Colorado. Powerful stories of life and faith! The stories of all of those relationships are strong in our hearts. We move to Austin and it means starting over again. You don't know us and we don't know you. And yet, we are made for relationship! We are called to dive deep together.
While we may not know many of your stories today, we can say to you today that we already love you. We loved you and then picked up and left everyone we loved behind to come here. We love you because you are the church. You are the body of Christ assembled here to do God's work in this world. You are God's relationship to neighbor, co-worker, friend, stranger, and agency in the world. In that work, there are powerful stories of life and love. What new stories will we now create together?
Some have said here in this community that coming from the outside, my family may always be just that, an outsider who is never fully accepted. I refuse to accept that. That would be missing the mark in life. We are made for RELATIONSHIP. We cannot do life alone. Kids need a full community of asset-builders in their lives. Everyone is to be loved and valued. Jesus is clear about this. There is no longer Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female, insider or outsider, old Austin or new Austin, black or white, believer or unbeliever, (add some of yours to this list ____________) - all are ONE!
We are made for RELATIONSHIP, RELATIONSHIP, RELATIONSHIP. Deep and meaningful relationships with God and all of creation. May it be so.