This past Sunday we began a worship series focusing on the four words we lift up from our church vision statement that have become something of our mantra or motto: Nurture. Love. Serve. All.

In a combined Sunday School class down in the fellowship hall we enjoyed breakfast together and heard testimonies from three members, Gloria Bass, Jennifer Graham, and DeWayne Moore, reflecting on the word “nurture” and how they have experienced it in church. It was moving and challenging. 

We continued this theme in worship, hearing from Jesus in chapter four of Mark’s Gospel where he compares the Kingdom of God to seed being planted and growing into plants that produce fruit.

We talked about how a nurturing approach to faith and community is woven throughout the Bible, beginning all the way back at the beginning—in the creation story in Genesis when God creates humanity from the soil of the earth and places them in the garden with the charge to till and to keep it. To help it grow and flourish and produce. This was our first calling as human beings: to be gardeners, nurturers of creation.

This approach to faith and community is rooted, so to speak, in creation, in the natural processes of growth and maturity. No where in the natural world do things reach their full potential in an instant. This is not how God works. There is always growth, there is always a process.

But this kind of growth also doesn’t just happen. As our sower learns, support is needed. Nutrients in the soil. Enough sunlight, enough water. Space to grow and thrive. Otherwise life isn’t possible.

Growth doesn’t happen all at once, and it doesn’t happen all on its own. Life always and only happens with others.

This past week we saw yet another example of just how deeply this rhythm of growth is woven into the universe with the release of the first images from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope.

The images are truly breathtaking, and take us—in vivid color—closer to the dawn of creation than we’ve ever been. 

One image in particular, known as Webb’s First Deep Field, has been widely shared, and is the sharpest infrared image of a distant universe to date. But I was taken by another image showing a group of galaxies known as Stephan’s Quintet.

It shows 5 galaxies, 4 of which interact—that are, in the words of NASA, “colliding” with each other, and “pulling and stretching each other in a gravitational dance.”

You read that right. We have an image of galaxies pulling and stretching and dancing with each other.

Church, this is the rhythm of life. A rhythm of interaction and connection and even dance. 

It is a rhythm woven into the literal fabric of creation since the beginning, and a rhythm that we cannot help but live into, sometimes colliding and other times, beautifully, humbly, mysteriously, dancing. 

Let’s be a people who dance.


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