Creating a space,
Many people at Parkview are helping to make the renovation of the Kansha a success. I am deeply grateful to them. They include Jeannie Shaw and James Harris of the Presbytery Disaster Assistance team and their members, Stan Umeda and Barbara Zweig, the Mission Support Committee of Presbytery, Donna Komure-Toyama, Carla Hart and Lori Hart of the PW, Bill Nagata, Cathy and Terry Nishizaki and let’s not forget our generous anonymous donors. We are coming closer to making the Kansha a liveable space once again, but there is still a lot to be done. Please find a list in this Chapel Chimes of tasks we need volunteer help within the next two weeks and spread the word!
This made me think about the fact that we are not just upgrading an existing building or a facility which has been rarely used in the past five years or so. We are in fact creating a space for ministry, a space for people to meet and have conversations, a space for young people who are now merely imagined or at most names without faces to come and rest from the ministry they will engage with us in. We are making room for something new.
Over the twenty years as pastor at Parkview I have learned that as a leader you can point the way to a potential vision, but you cannot make things happen. The pastoral ministry is very often about creating a space, a space for people to gather, a space for people to look for meaning and for healing, a space for nourishment of all kinds, a space for community, a space to be oneself and a space to feel safe. Maybe that is why I have spent a lot of effort moving around the furniture in our buildings (often with no apparent result), because whether I knew it or not I wanted to create spaces which were not just physical, but also communal, meaningful, spiritual.
Much of our lives are about creating space and I don’t mean in our cupboards and our garages, but in our hearts and on our calendars. Those who love us clamor for that and we clamor for that from them. Those who aren’t as close to us ask for space also and we know that keeping people at arm’s length gets us nowhere in the end. We just slowly fashion a lonely space.
Worship too is about creating space, a space for God. By showing up on Sunday you are saying you want to make space for God. In that sense preaching is a lot like rearranging the furniture in people heads and hearts or opening a window. As a preacher you help people look at things in a new way so that they make space for God in a new place or in an old familiar place perhaps. I used to think by preaching I could do a lot more, but now I realize this is a lot already.
Friends, when we make space of any kind, we are not really sure how that space will be filled. We also do not know who all will be filling that space that we are recreating on the corner of 8th and T. I guess it is all a spiritual adventure. May God bless our journeys and our ministry. Aart