Some recent conversations got me thinking about some things that God does in and through the Village that are really, really good. I reflected on this because it is easy for me to see darkness rather than light and because it is easier for me to criticize what we don't do or do poorly as opposed to celebrating what we do well. So I thought I'd mention just three things, three things I see in the Village that impress me every time I experience them or see them.
One: We write our own music. It blows me away every time I hear a new song or get to join in singing one that has become a Village favorite. We set Scripture to music or take bits of ancient creeds and confessions and find a tune. The various bands work hard at making new music and it is always a delight when a new song is rolled out. Sure, we sing many of the great hymns of the faith. They are wonderful teachers of theology and doctrine. And we borrow from others church communities that also creatively write new songs. But I love that we have no need for a CCLI license since we don't use songs that require one. More and more the Village has built a library of songs that are written by people who are part of the community. It is a beautiful thing.
Two: We are a place for the broken. It is amazing to hear the stories of the wounds that have been healed and the lives that have been changed for the better in the Village community. Because so many of us struggle with faith, have trust issues after years of abuse and mistreatment, or have experienced that which is not the way it is supposed to be in horrific ways, it is startling to find such a huge measure of healing and grace toward others that exists in the Village. We are good at listening and reading between the lines and offering hope to the hopeless and comfort to the distraught. Because we have survived pain and loss we are good at empathy and honoring the stories of others. It is a beautiful thing.
Three: We are good at dealing with sin. From the Sinner's Chair to working the hot seat in a Pilgrim Group to gentle confrontations that happen in coffee shops, breakfast joints, or living rooms, we are not afraid to speak to people who are tangled in sin or to acknowledge our own. There is a wonderful openness to confession and repentance, but there are sweet opportunities to talk about the impact of our sin and our struggle with it. There is a bit of intrinsic judgement in any conversation about sin, but it is a delight to watch the people of the Village calmly and forthrightly talk about their sin. No one is horrified by the fact that someone has fallen into a particular sin and neither are they reluctant to confront it in love, tears streaming down their faces. It is a beautiful thing.
What three things does your church do that are incredibly impressive?