A couple days ago, I was walking downtown in our new city (Charlottesville, Virginia), and I passed an elderly fellow sporting a t-shirt with wise words: Step back and let Jesus do what he do. Amen, brother.
In the last week or so, my family has dived headlong into a new place. Two weeks of packing. Loading up (with the help of many friends). Driving a 26 foot Penske truck from South Carolina to Virginia (I created an alter ego as a trucker. However, I never landed on a CB handle. Suggestions accepted.) Unpacking (with the help of many new friends). A week of pulling stuff out of boxes, getting utilities set up, registering Wyatt for first grade, figuring out where the grocery stores are – basically, being a newbie.
Now, however, the real work starts. We are here because we feel God intends for us to love this city and to become woven into it. We will begin our work helping to form a new spiritual community, joining the other churches already loving and living here in the Jesus’ way. I’m eager, and I’m overwhelmed. Where do I begin? How do I learn the unique textures and narratives of this place? How do I give my full effort to the hard work of helping a community take shape without caving to the seductive temptation to push and manufacture and manipulate? How to I stay true to who I am? How do we connect with the people who we will live in community with? How will we discover the resources we will need for this mission? Will the whole thing flop?
Well, of course, my mind has run a tad bit wild – it likes to do that every now and then. I must remember this is God’s mission, not mine. We have come to love and give and serve and lead and hope and pray and love a little more. And then, hopefully, we will step back and let Jesus do what he do.