“Although the church is not God’s new order, it is meant to be a hint of the new order now and, more, a training school for new-order people. Rightly, we declare the good news – the promise of God’s new order, forgiven and free – and then in our common baptized life demonstrate an inclusive bread-breaking love for all the world to see. What is the good news? We are being saved in a being-saved world…. Saving mercy comes to us from a community and calls us into a community. And the church is, as Calvin supposed, a kind of kindergarten in which we practice new-order life in the midst of our brokenness.”
– David Buttrick, The Mystery and the Passion (via inward/outward)
“Hint” and “Kindergarten” — such graceful words.
Last Tuesday, I had a “hint” overdose when I first heard how a small group of church members prayed for a visiting friends who was due for an surgical procedure. I noticed little things like, phone numbers being taken down, prayers offered with a view of visiting. Even as we were speaking the mobile phone rang, and I could over hear that a visit was planned. We included this friend in our intercessory prayer that night. That’s a pretty loud “hint”. The story is still unfolding … I’m watching closely with a grateful heart.
Approaching the church’s 7th Anniversary this Sunday, the word “kindergarten” crops up. While it’s true many of our children are around this stage, and some are already in primary school, it’s the picture of “kindergarten” that is so “freeing” in a way. This is so refreshing compared to other words like “burden”, “burn out”, “restrictive”, etc, which is often used to describe church experience. “Kindergarten” gives us more space and grace to fumble and grow. It also a nudges us towards more practice in the grammar of our faith and our initiation into the curriculum of God’s intention for the world. And more practice is what we need in order to grow in maturity. There are wise sages living and dead guiding us along the way. The Spirit is quietly working.