Love the Place You Live

Rev. Cliff WarnerCliffNotes, Frontpage News

Dear Christ Church Family,

Earlier this week, four moments all converged in a single day that have me thinking again about our sense of “place” and how vital it is, though often neglected, to biblical spirituality and what it means to be human:

[1] In our Ash Wednesday service we corporately prayed: “For our waste and pollution of your creation, and our lack of concern for those who come after us, Accept our repentance, Lord.[2] I invited everyone to pick up a handout after the service, listing idea starters for possible Lenten disciplines, one of which suggests: “Sustainability: instead of driving somewhere, bike. Instead of biking, walk. Instead of driving alone, carpool.  Ride the bus.” [3] Then Wednesday night when I got home and looked at email, I saw a link to this beautiful video on loving your place. [4] Lastly, Thursday morning was Day 1 of one of my Lenten disciplines; I’m giving up driving to work for Lent, riding my bike instead. Already I’m noticing people and places, closer to the ground, moving more slowly through this city I love.

What do all of these have in common? They all have to do with loving the place we live, from care of God’s creation (the confession and our call to sustainable practices), to living with affection and commitment to our neighborhoods and neighbors.

And something crazy just happened. While writing this, seated at a picnic table on a beautiful afternoon in the courtyard of our church building—amidst the life passing by on Medina St., three horses just walked by. No kidding. I snapped a shot. I love our neighborhood.

To love our place, to become students of our surroundings, to care for God’s creation and be a faithful presence where He has providentially placed us, this is the church’s vocation. And it takes slowing down, which sounds a lot like Lent.

Peace, Cliff+