When you go to a church with a name as pretentious as "Renovatus," you're allowed to have a MANIFESTO instead of a mere mission statement or something.  ;) We recently rolled out a newly-tweaked manifesto. You can read it here.
Illustration by Jake Page
Recently, we enjoyed a sermon about the part of our manifesto that reads "We ARE your grandmother's church, and your great-grandmother's church, and your great-great-grandmother's church. We embrace continuity with the church's past. We seek intergenerational and cultural diversity. We will harness the classic spiritual practices and truths that transcend time and place. We are a local representation of a timeless community."
Many newly-formed churches think that they're reinventing church for a new generation and have abandoned all aspects of the liturgy and practices that former generations have practiced for...generations. One of the things I dearly love at Renovatus is the mix of old and new music and liturgies. I love that last week we had prayer for the "grandparents," and there were at least 40 down at the altar as we blessed them and prayed for them to "dream dreams" a la Acts 2 and to continue to be a vital part of our mission to renovate Charlotte. And of course, to share their wisdom and love with younger generations.
At our small group last week, we went around the circle and shared about our grandmothers and their spiritual legacy. Some had no real "legacy" within the church and broken relationships. Many of our grandmothers endured some kind of physical or emotional abuse at the hand of their husbands. But of the all the joyful, wonderful and sometimes tragic things we shared, I kept hearing about the RELATIONSHIPS we had with our grandmothers. Never once did anyone mention "and in 1987 she got this awesome game system for Christmas!" Some had grandmothers who were awesome cooks, some were real characters, some were Godly, some spoke of Jesus but not in the way you might hope (!)...but what came through was how they related to us and to our families. Strong women and sometimes broken women doing the best they could. It really made me reflect on the legacy I want to leave to Shepard and generations further down the line. I want to be known as a woman who brought the Kingdom of Heaven to earth through my prayers and actions and words. I want to be known for showing grace and mercy. I want to have gentle answers and a ready hug. I will likely never be the best-cook-in-the-world grandma, and that's ok. But I really do want to be known for encouraging, supporting, and loving those God has seen fit to send into my life.
Especially as we enter a season of giving, I have been wrestling with wanting to buy a bunch of "stuff" for Shepard, because it's fun to give gifts and is expected in our society. We somehow tie gift-giving automatically to the measure of our love. Commercials seem to tell us that in order to show our love, we must buy such-and-such. As Christmas approaches, I really want to give the gift of a rich, Godly legacy to those around me. That's something that will get passed down through the ages. It will not become tarnished and moth-eaten or go to the land of unwanted toys. Join me?