I visited the home of a friend a few weeks ago. She loves her home and has described aspects of it to me over the years but it was a delight to actually be there so I’ll have a picture in my head for future conversations.
Here’s what I love about the place. First, it is a home, not a house, and holds love lightly within it. It’s a peaceful place. Second, many of the details of updating and remodeling have been done after much thought and planning, suiting the interests, needs and hobbies of the owners. Third, almost all of the furnishings and decorations have a story. She described to me who made various pieces of furniture and the provenance of other pieces – these kero- sene lanterns were my grandmother’s, this chair belonged to a friend, my husband built this to fit right into this space and used recycled wood for the drawers. I kept asking for more stories, and they flowed out.
What I loved best was the expression on her face as the stories poured out. Watching her eyes light up or take on a faraway look for a moment as she would recall how she’s been around a particular item her whole life, bathing in her contented smile, I was moved by the delight my friend takes in remembering. As she does so, she temporarily peoples the space of today with her ancestors who lived their lives as best they knew how. Each one taught her something of how to be Jesus in the world to others. It’s not the things that matter. It’s what they remind her of that’s so important. They are visible signs of the relationships of her life which make her who she is. The furniture and furnishings are eclectic and yet they blend beautifully because both they and their stories are loved and appreciated.
My friend is a very faithful woman. Life has not always given her what she wants but she transforms what she receives as heritage and circumstance by trusting God. She gives me hope, as she tells the stories of her ancestors, for the good time we’ll have on 9/30 as we gather to remember UPC’s family stories. We’ll be surrounded by furnishings that remind us of the places we’ve traveled from, including items rescued from the sodden mess of a fire to become beautiful again. We have many good stories about our ancestors in Arcadia and First and here at UPC. The laughter, worship, mission, tears, connections and relationships of all the years make us who we are now. Remembering our past this Sunday will help solidify our identity. We’re not just choosing a pastor. The pastor is also choosing UPC. The work we’re do today will help our Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC) answer with truth and confidence the questions they will be asked by potential pastors: “Who are you? How did you learn that? What are your bedrock convictions? What are your dreams?”
Come help share the stories. Come be surprised. Come laugh and learn and help us pre- pare for the pastor even now being prepared by God. Show up and be part of the story.
Blessings, Rev. Laura