Volume 33, No. 8
Home Means Doing Hard Things
My daughters watched E.T. The Extraterrestrial for the first-time on Tuesday evening. Honestly, any movie with John Williams doing the soundtrack is a good movie. Annaleigh is my highly emotional child and she cried through the entire movie, from when E.T. died to the moment the doors closed to the spaceship and he went home. Beatrice, on the other hand, is my analytical child and had to answer all of Annaleigh’s questions like, “What is E.T. building?” With Beatrice saying, “He’s building a phone, of course.” I feel like that’s the rollercoaster we are on these days as a church and as a society. We need to use all of our intelligence just to keep up with the progress in the world, while the emotions of sadness, grief, and loss are huge and debilitating most days. We need all of who we are, our minds and our hearts, as we continue to do God’s work through Royal Lane Baptist Church and in this city.
But one word that I heard in E.T. over and over again was the word “home.” The little E.T. was abandoned and it hurt his heart. That was because he had a home that he missed. Yet, E.T. formed a bond with Elliott and made a new home. Also, Elliott didn’t have a father at home and so E.T. was now his companion. When E.T. suffered, Elliott suffered. When E.T. learned, Elliott learned. When E.T. died, Elliott died inside. When E.T. left in the spaceship at the end of the movie, both of them were lonely, yet happy.
When we are dealing with places that we call home, it means that we often have to do hard things. And the reason things feel difficult is because of the familial connection created in homes. One of the hard things we had to do in this home called Royal Lane was eliminate the Properties Manager position. Mike Hurder has been with us for sixteen years. That means this church was his home and he was one of the family. When he hurt, we hurt. When he celebrated, we celebrated. As close friends and staff grieve his leaving, we all grieve. And that’s the challenge when finding a home. That is the risk when finding a home.
The way that this church thrives into a broad and good future is by taking big risks. We are risking a staff position to be in a better financial position to continue to reach out into our community through our missions programing and vibrant ministries. Sometimes difficult and hard choices need to be made. And this is indeed difficult because we love Mike Hurder. And so, with a mix of our minds and our hearts, this important decision was made so that members can continue to call this place home far into the future and be a home for new people seeking our unique and inclusive message and outlook.
So, as we enter the rest of this season of Easter, let us remember that Jesus made his home with us and dwelt with us, as it says in the Gospel of John. And we, too, must continue to do hard things in order to be a place that can provide a home for all of God’s people.