Church Community - Reservoir Church
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Finding Life: Summer 2020

Church Community

Ivy Anthony

Aug 23, 2020


For this week’s Events and Happenings, click “Download PDF.”

For this week’s spiritual practice on God of Community and Friendship, click HERE.

To view this week’s worship service, or “Virch,” click the YouTube link above.


You may notice that I’m in the Reservoir Church Sanctuary.  It’s a little wild to be in here – to be honest.  It reminds me a bit of this “story” I learned when I was little… “Here’s the church, here’s the steeple… open the doors “where are all people?”  A story that conveyed to me at a young age that people should show up where the building of church was – at the designated time – on a Sunday.   It took me a little longer to see that Jesus’ message to us – is actually to recognize Church as wherever people are gathered. 


Church, of course, has never been about the building.  It’s been about a way of being in the world. An invitation God hands to us – to live fully, remembering that God’s presence is everywhere,  in our world.


I’ve got to confess though what a beautiful building this is – the stained glass, the architecture… the memories of bagels  – this great sound system.. (Ha!)  It’s amazing to sit in this space in some ways… and it’s also a little weird. 


It’s so disruptive to sit here – because I can get in touch with the grief that I feel – how much I want to be able to join with all of you and listen to our voices singing together, greeting one another, taking communion – laughing, crying, praying…. and I can get mad, that we had no choice in this.  That a tiny virus has wreaked havoc on our way of connecting and being in community with one another.


And as I sit in the echo of my own voice this morning – the stillness and the Spirit gently reminds me that this is the way it is .. this is how it will be for a bit – that we won’t gather in person here….  and that I can choose disconnection, and pull away, or just sit back and enter a “holding pattern” waiting for this all to be over and return to “normal”….     OR I can re-up on Jesus’ invitation to see that we are the church, we are the temple. 

To see that we are living breathing sanctuaries… AND that when two or three of us are gathered together in God’s name (Matthew)– God’s presence is there also!  


Connection to one another, in this time IS vital, it is necessary for yes our survival – but also a means by which we can still flourish! 

God gives us a model for this, how we can flourish – live! –  Gather. Eat. Share. Remember me.  He doesn’t say “where” or how… – he just says “gather”


He gathered with people in fields, and in boats, and on shore-sides, in gardens, lounging in chairs, on hills, at tables,  and in deserts, and in the bustle of crowds, on mountaintops, and in the valleys…. early in the morning, at midnight …. Anywhere and everywhere.  Connection, community, faith, spirituality it’s all possible when we gather together. 


We are in deep time my friends… depths of grief, depths of unknowing, depths of anxiety, depths of frustration…. AND WE ARE in deep need of community.   And I could preach a pretty good sermon on community, (I think)… but much like this Sanctuary – it would feel pretty empty….. If it wasn’t given voice by so many of you – the church, the community.


So this morning I invite you to listen to a sermon, one that is preached over and over again every time we gather together.  A sermon given across towns, through masks and via virtual platforms – in our community groups… where the necessary ingredients for church it turns out – is you/us and the presence of God.  Here are some voices from the Reservoir community:  


Video: Stories from Community Groups


If these stories show us anything they show us that the heart of the church is in us.  Not WHERE we gather – but AS WE gather.  Maybe not all of us will find this in a labor and delivery room – like Rose – but the potential is there!  And it is there that we EXPERIENCE that we are not alone – that we are held by the love of the Spirit – yes, even through ZOOM  – and the love of one another. 


Jesus says, “Gather. Eat. Share. Remember me.” – this is to truly live.


I don’t know how you are feeling this morning?  But if you – for even just a second – have had a fleeting thought of, “I wonder how long I can hold on through these months to come?”… I would say….don’t hesitate!  I invite you to actively protest the tug of these days to isolate – and check out a community group! You’ll see a link to a Google form in your chat and on youtube… you can quickly fill this out to let me know some of your preferences and information.  We have 30 or so community groups that offer a variety of ages, makeup and focus, meet on a variety of days and times – and it is where you’ll find other human beings – living breathing sanctuaries – who will offer you welcome, without exception just as you are.