Dave Everson

Transition to the cross, then to a building

This Sunday I outlined six “Stages of Home”: Settled, Unsettled, Deciding, Transition, Settling, Settled.[1] Most of my comments were focused on the way individuals can pray their way through these steps. If I had had time, I also would have liked to talk about how these same stages have affected our church. Here’s the gist of what I had in mind.
In the 13 years I’ve been a member of this church, it has never reached the Settled stage.[2] In the terms I used on Sunday, Mosaic has never had a “HOME” where we Belonged, a place that was more than simply “where we lived.”

We wanted to. It’s an old dream of NewSong’s that was carried through the merge into Mosaic. But despite our intermittent searches, we haven’t found a place to Settle. Instead, we’ve vacillated between Unsettled and Deciding and Transition.

Right now, we’re in Transition: committed to moving, actively taking steps to make it happen. But Transition is difficult–especially when you don’t have much control over the timeline. We can’t make our building sell. We can’t make a good new location become available. We can simply do our due diligence, pray, and wait.

That is a recipe for tension, and it’s being felt–keenly–by a lot of our members. It popped its head out during the Teams Workshop last weekend. A few days later it popped out again during the Board meeting. Both conversations were animated–heated, even.

Whether we like to admit it or not, Mosaic is a remarkably idealistic bunch. We want to pour our energy into work that we perceive as meaningful and effective. We want to worship God well, and we want to serve people in life-changing ways.

But:

  • In Transition, our options for doing those things are limited.
  • With few options, our effectiveness is also limited.
  • And so Transition feels like failure.
  • And it’s a failure we can’t fix because we don’t know how long Transition will last.

In other words, we’re stuck without quick escape in a place that makes us look and feel powerless, ineffective, weak, and insecure.

And those are ideal conditions for the Gospel to apprehend us.

Isn’t it remarkable that what feels like failure brings us to the cross…again and again? What better moment to let Jesus and his grace replace us and our striving as the basis of our future and our worth?

What concerns me most at this moment–more than resolving tension, more than finding the next home, more than coming to belong, more than reaching out–is that we don’t lose Jesus in all the noise we’re making about how to serve him best. He is our King, our salvation, our God, our brother. Our church and its work are important, certainly, but not more important than the One who is our life. He calls us to follow and trust him. He asks us to believe he can lead us safely to the Most High God, whose righteousness and holiness and glory and power surpass our wildest imaginations. If Jesus can lead us safely to God’s throne room, he can lead us safely through transition to a new home.

We should certainly look for new ways to serve our community–whether it’s Pittsford or some other part of Greater Rochester. But an even greater call on our church–right now–is to go to the deep, deep well of God’s love and mercy and grace. To learn from him how to offer the same to each other. To dedicate our eyes and ears and hearts and minds and hands and feet to him. To follow Jesus as faithfully and fully as he enables us. To rely on his Spirit within us. To trust his lead.

To rest our weary hearts in him.


[1] Listen to the full sermon here.

[2] Mosaic is the result of the merger of Walnut Hill Community and NewSong churches in about 2008. I came from the NewSong side of that merge, and the non-settled years I’m talking about were spent there. Walnut Hill, however, definitely made Pittsford its HOME, and came to belong there with intentionality. The willingness of Walnut Hill’s members to give up their HOME was a sacrifice that I’m not sure we former NewSong members fully appreciate, even to this day.

Photo Credit
Transition: Jay; CC BY-NC-SA 2.0