Today’s CliffNotes is a guest post by Peter Coelho –
Dear Christ Church,
Shannon, Lucy and I have been in Austin for just over a month now. Over the past month, one of the questions I have been asked has been, “What are your impressions of Christ Church?” I’d like to give an answer here. I hope you’ll accept these few, initial observations about Christ Church from one coming into the community.
Here’s what I see…
- A community that is open-hearted. This one is easy. Many people I’ve talked with have identified the welcome and generosity they’ve experienced as the fundamental reason they’re a part of the community. For me, in this way, the church reminds me of the trees here in Austin. Where I’m from, trees shoot straight up, eagerly seeking the sun. In Austin, the trees are much closer to the earth. They do reach up to the sun, but they also reach out, opening themselves up, with limbs that invite climbing, play and interaction. Those limbs almost seem to hug the earth and sky at the same time. Christ Church seems like a community that is reaching up, but also out, opening itself up and inviting interaction; hugging the earth and sky.
- A community that is confident. Christ Church is a remarkably gifted congregation. Shannon and I have been amazed at the array of talented people God has brought together. But that is not the source of the confidence I sense. Continuing with the tree metaphor, the confidence, I suspect, is because the church is well-rooted. Much like the individual described in Ps. 1:1-3 and Jeremiah 17:7,8, Christ Church’s confidence seems a product of its dependence upon God. This, of course, relates to its open-hearted character, because of its deep roots, the church can reach out its limbs.
- Finally, I see a community that is beloved. This has little do with Christ Church itself. Rather, it has to do with the character of the One the church is formed around. Christ loves his church. Christ loves Christ Church. When we gather on Sundays I sense the Triune God’s delight in us. This delight is present when we meet elsewhere, but I particularly feel it when we gather on Sunday for worship. As we are taken up in song, prayer, Word and sacrament, I have the deep sense that He sees Christ Church for who it is and He loves us.
One month in and it already feels like “us”.
I hope what I’ve seen is an encouragement to you; it has been to me.
See you on Sunday,