I was walking around a cemetery last month. It’s a good exercise for my body and soul. The church next to it has been there for over a century, and it’s never been big. But if the words on the stones are any indication, a lot of people got to know Jesus there.
Our faith grandparents were surely good ‘multipliers.’ They’d get a church to a couple dozen people and go start a new class meeting in someone’s house a little farther up the pike. That would grow to b
e its own church and they’d write their DS or Presiding elder and get a pastor and start more classes. The pastor made the rounds, bringing communion and training for leaders and a good word.
Some of those churches ‘took.’ Some churches didn’t last even one person’s lifetime. The number of children’s gravestones tells me it can’t have been easy work, standing for the good news that Jesus came to bring abundant life to everybody.
Whatever we do to show love to God with heart, mind, and strength and to love our neighbors as much as we do ourselves, it will be messy. Painful. Challenging. Humbling. Weird. Sharing life means sharing heartache as well. But just like our faith grandparents multiplied the love of Jesus in hard times, I pray we can too. Maybe not a whole new church, but a new class meeting, or a dinner with communion, or a band of people trying to stay closer to God.
I don’t know what will be here when it’s my turn to rest under one of those stones, but right now there’s pain, confusion, and loneliness, so it’s not time to stop.
See you Saturday in Winamac, or the 27th in Monticello.
I’ll pray for you. You pray for me.