January at The Grove is a time for remembering who God has called us to be and recommitting ourselves to our mission: Inviting All to Serve and Come Alive in Christ. This week, I’ve been studying and praying about the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman in preparation for a message on what it looks like to be a community that invites all to belong.
And then Wednesday happened—insurrection at the United States Capitol Building. And, like everyone else, I was glued to my screens watching the events unfold. Like everyone else, I was trying to understand what was happening—trying to process, trying to hold space for the pain and fear and rage of those around me, trying to pray, trying to hold steady to Jesus, trying to trust and yield to what the Spirit is doing here and now with this brokenness.
It seemed like tone-deaf myopic foolishness to move forward with the worship service we planned. How can we recommit to inviting all with images of riots and armed insurrection on our screens?
But if not now, when?
If we are divided from our mission and one another in life-and-death moments of crisis like this, we never had holy purpose or vision. If our only unity lies in swallowing our pain and looking away and finding shallow common ground, then what we are doing here isn’t real and isn’t of God.
So, yes, this week—especially this week—we will speak of inviting all as we explore the passage where Jesus met a Samaritan woman at a holy well. Jesus and the Samaritan Woman were two strangers from two warring ethnicities, born into a multi-generational cycle of enmity. Their foundational myths and sacred stories demonized one another and, yet, Jesus offered her living water. He invited her to leave her current worldview behind and to step into a radically new story. It was the same invitation he made to every person he met. The only difference—she was one of the few who accepted this invitation.
So, maybe we can all start there.