Laying Down Our Expectations

…But Not Our Vision

Sunday, September 13 marks a momentous day in Wisconsin.  Sure it’s NFL’s opening Sunday and the Packers just happen to be playing the Bears.  Admittedly, that alone is enough to make any Wisconsinite get the cheese out.  But tucked away in a 3-car garage just off Park Avenue in Racine WI will be the first worship service of Parish House Anglican.  As the priest of this newly minted congregation I’m excited and confused all at the same time.  Julie and I moved to our current home 3 1/2 years ago eager to begin a church here.  Of course we never imagined it would begin in our garage.  To be honest I’m not sure what we imagined.  But since our move we’ve continued to feel the Lord pulling us in a single direction…it just so happens that direction is where we normally store our lawnmower.   So this Sunday, Parish House Anglican will take its place among Apple Inc, Hewlett-Packard, The Walt Disney Company, Mattel, Google, and Yankee Candle, and will set up shop, albeit with a Kingdom-orientation, in our garage.

And we’re excited to step out on this new missional adventure.  But as a priest I’m fighting off this one question: “What if nobody shows?” It bothers me that I’m not asking other questions like, “How will we park the church bus in our driveway?” or reading books on techniques to learn a massive number of names all at one time. Instead I feel like I’m about to become the pastor of the smallest church in America. Then I’m reminded of the wisdom a Kenyan priest I recently met in Nairobi who said, “Most anything really needed in the world will start small.”  I’m struck by how quickly the vision God gives us can shrink in the midst of anxiety and fear.  Anything new, especially a parish, will by necessity rewrite our expectations as we discover the depth of the life of God in our midst.  I know that being missional is code for relinquishing expectation.  And while that’s uncomfortable for me, I’m finding it necessary because the vision God gives won’t fit inside the probabilities that linger in the world of our own prediction.  It’s when God’s vision leads that we can lay down anxious expectancy and let the love of God draw us into those peculiar places we would have never gone before.  If you follow, you never know, you may find yourself worshipping next to your snow blower.

The Campbell’s invitation to their first Parrish House service.

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