Making Space

Java PrintingSigns are everywhere that Bulk Trash day is coming. I’ve seen used toys, broken cabinets, old computer monitors and TVs, mounds of boxes, big black garbage bags stuffed full, even a piano along the side of the road. The spirit of Spring Cleaning is blowing through our neighborhood. Seeing all the stuff piled up has made me wonder what sort of space has been created now in those homes. More importantly, what will the people do now to keep the space open? My experience is that stuff expands to the space it is in unless there is intentional effort to use and protect the new space for something different.

Over the past few months, we have created space for our faith during our Lenten and Easter theme of Practicing Our Faith. We’ve created space for the box, space to “think in the box”, space for the practices in homes, our lives. As we come to the end of our focus on this theme, we too now need to ask, what will we do with the space we have created? How will we keep that space open to our faith and let that space with our box redesign more of our lives? Otherwise, stuff will fill up the space and crowd out “openings in our lives where the grace, mercy, and presence of God may be made known to us” as the authors write in Practicing Our Faith. We run the further risk of filling up the space and missing out on ways to join God’s work in the world. Creating and expanding those openings has been the goal of this study. The different practices, some familiar, some new, have given us ways to live our faith in the space and let it redesign our homes and our lives.

I’m left now with the desire to build on this theme as the way we nurture space in our lives for our God and the way we create space for God in our life together. This study has been about practices, but ultimately, it is about seeking a life-giving way of life. The practices are not an end in themselves, but a means to learn, grow, struggle, and open up to what God is doing in us and around us. How we live faithfully now opens up possibilities for seeing God more fully, more deeply, and in more expansive ways. What does God want us to do next to open up even more? How does the box rearrange the room, the house, the neighborhood, the community and world? Practicing our faith is a journey of creating space for God so that we live a life-giving way of life, for ourselves, our families, at work, our world and in our life together as church.

It seems appropriate then that we end this study on Pentecost. On that first Pentecost, the disciples were crammed into a small space because they had a small vision of what to do after Jesus’ death and the rumors of his resurrection. But, even in the small space, God came to them in the power of the Holy Spirit and opened up whole new ways for them to live and share God’s good news of life. Early Christians became “followers of the Way”. The church was born, and God’s life-giving ways were shared with spiritually hungry, purpose-seeking, meaning-hungry people. From that small space grew a way for the disciples to join God’s continuing work of life, hope and grace in the lives of many in concrete ways. What then is possible with the space we’ve created? I’m looking forward to God’s Pentecost in our space and what it will mean for us as God fills us anew with God’s Spirit.

In the space of our ministry together, we have many ways to experience God. HomeFront is renovating and recreating a living space. Spring Clean-up also cleans our space. Homecoming Sunday is practicing hospitality in our space. The Gun Violence/Gospel Values conversation looks at making our space safer for all to thrive. And, I hope that you will make space and time to participate in our sustainable youth ministry discussion on May 19 as we make space for our youth in new ways in our church.

God is at work, and I hope and pray that the space we have created together with our boxes has revealed God’s presence and activity to you in new ways. I am also looking forward to where God will lead us next as we create more room for God’s Spirit to work in our lives in life-giving ways.