A long time ago I was fortunate to be able to travel to a conference
in Florida (titled “Leading Well”). I was fortunate because of the congregation’s generosity for my continuing education both in time and financial well-being. So, I book my travel, head to the airport. Now many of you have had the pleasure of traveling by plane to a vast number of places, and each of you have to go through an airport. But have you ever stopped to think about how the airport is like the Church? There are similarities!
Airports are gathering hubs of people from many places, just like the church! We come together each week for one purpose – to worship, pray, be refueled; yet we come from many places, backgrounds, families, to this building, for the same purpose, just as those who are traveling do to the airport. The airport isn’t the final destination (unless you are outside of it watching the planes take off!), and the same is true of church; it is not the final destination! Just as we come to the airport to continue the journey to other places, so too we come to church to be refueled and readied for the next leg of our journey!
Airports can be hospitable or inhospitable places, as can churches. What makes for a hospitable journey to the airport? People who greet you, welcome you to the ticket counter, the car rental agency, the information desk. People who are glad to direct you to where you need to go, good signs that point the way to the restrooms, the food court, the luggage claim areas; a pleasant and attractive environment. All things that are needed at church too! Think about the best and the worst airport you’ve ever traveled through, about the culture and environment of each and apply what made it so to Church; how would you rate Living Saviour?
The airport needs people to make all this work, just as we need people too. Those who hear the call to welcome, read in worship, serve Holy Communion, tend the youngest in the nursery, prepare the coffee, be ready with a smile, a word of hello to those you know and those you don’t. One thing about Lutherans, we believe in the “priesthood of all believers” that is, all of us have a call to be part of things, in small and large ways. It is not only the pastor and paid staff who are responsible, but all of us. How do you live into this call to be part of things? Where can you welcome, serve, offer a smile and direction?
The airport supplies what you need for your journey–food, water, resting places (and maybe even WIFI!) Our faith journey needs these as well, from the meal at the altar, Holy Communion, to the water of baptism in the font, which remind us of our journey to walk wet in this world as baptized Christ followers, to the rest we can experience in worship through confession, prayer, quiet, and music which soothes and energizes us from the weariness of our daily lives, readying us for the next stage in the journey of faith and life.
Living Saviour is an amazing place to worship! It is a great place to be each week as so many come together to prepare for the coming week as God’s beloved children.
There are people in your life who don’t have a place to come to be readied for the journey of faith and life; so pray, asking God who it is in your life that isn’t here and needs to be; ask God for strength to invite, wisdom to know who and when, boldness to issue the invitation, and God’s Spirit to be working on the other to prepare them to receive the invitation to be part of something renewing and loving.
Church is not the final destination, but a hub, a place to which we come, are readied and then go again. We are nourished, and sent out into the world. Thanks be to God for this place of joy, worship, refreshment. Thanks be to God for all who make this a great place to be–All of you!
Love in Christ,