Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Rough Draft: My Sojourn

The following is the rough draft of a reflection essay I'm writing to be published in Travelogue, the quarterly, in-house magazine of my church, Sojourn Community Church. If you have some feedback/critique for me, make sure to make it by the end of the day tomorrow, July 1, as my deadline is Friday.

My Sojourn
by Paul Butterworth
Hurt, fear, and hope are an odd triad of emotions, but as I experienced my first worship gathering at The 930, I felt all three. The hurt had come in with me – I was broken, my last church experience having ended in disaster. The fear was also my own – I had grown up in church (“over-churched” to be sure) and I was afraid of what lay ahead of me, the awkward pains of making new friends and learning new rhythms.  But hope – hope was there too, and as the liturgy of the service progressed, hope began to assert itself with greater force. The songs, the Scripture reading, the sermon, all pointed to some great reassurance that I couldn’t explain.
            Afterwards, I tracked down the tall bearded man who had led us in the readings. He introduced himself as Chad Lewis. I told Chad that I wanted to be part of the church, but I was hurting. With gentle strength in his voice, he replied, “Sojourn is a place where you can come and you can be hurting.” Hope was rising higher.
            It all began to happen very quickly after that as I encountered the Gospel in Community and change occurred. I joined a Community Group and God began to give us a love for each other, a love that required a lot of forgiveness and grace as we lived life together. I began to serve on the Connect Team and serving my church made me realize that this truly was my church.  I wasn’t some houseguest; I was part of a family. Hurt and fear, like every sin/emotion, lurk like monsters beneath the water, hungry to destroy.  Hope, however, is still stronger, anchored in the reality that Jesus is changing everything, including my brothers and sisters and me.


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