While our earthly life is short-lived and temporal, it is our home for now. Unpack the boxes, plant a garden and fix up the place you’re in. Take time to walk around the neighbourhood, not as a tourist but as a five-senses inhabitant.

Too many people rush through life essentially living out of a suitcase. We drive through life just over the speed limit and never get out of the car. We engage in relationships at a shallow level fearing that we may get stuck in relationships that put a demand on our time and sensibilities.

Peter Block writes about what it means to belong and contribute to a community.

What makes community building so complex is that it occurs in an infinite number of small steps, sometimes in quiet moments that we notice out of the corner of our eye. It calls for us to treat as important many things that we thought were incidental. An after-thought becomes the point; a comment made in passing defines who we are more than all that came before. If the artist is one who captures the nuance of experience, then this is who each of us must become.[1]

Sometimes we begrudge the chaotic people and unruly conditions of a place and retreat to a world we can control and keep free of the contaminants that others bring. But is this the heart of a Jesus’ follower? Anne Lamott said,

Clutter and mess show us that life is being lived... Tidiness makes me think of held breath, of suspended animation... Perfectionism is a mean, frozen form of idealism, while messes are the artist's true friend. What people somehow forgot to mention when we were children was that we need to make messes in order to find out who we are and why we are here.[2]

Good wisdom from Anne. Part of belonging is an entrance into and embracing of the chaos in order that we might be creative. Deciding to belong means that we help each other carry the chaos to the curb and work together to create a new environment.

That’s the story of New Song Church. That’s the story of faithful Christ followers all through time. Somehow, God’s creativity and Kingdom expression comes out of messy people in messy places.

Jacob took a rock and poured oil over it. He anointed the place and called it the house of God—Bethel. He took an ordinary rock from the ground he found himself on and made it holy. Will you worship God in the place you are?

[1] Peter Block, Community: The Structure of Belonging (San Francisco: BerrettKoehler, 2008) p.2
[2] Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life (New York: Anchor Books, 1995)