In the beginning was the Word
and the Word was with God
and the Word was God.
The Word was with God in the beginning.
Everything came into being through the Word,
and without the Word
nothing came into being.
What came into being
through the Word was life,
and the life was the light for all people.
The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness doesn’t extinguish the light.
John 1:1-5 (CEB)
“I have worked for Chapel Roswell for slightly longer than ninety days and still struggle to articulate the church’s vision and mission.” This was the confession that came in unintentional tears this past week during a team building retreat in North Carolina. I am the ministry coordinator and community curator for a thing that I do not completely understand. I only experience. How am I supposed to convince people to be a part of something they can only feel and have to be present for? It appears inevitable I will fail at my job.
However, the more I ruminate on this truth, I realize this is not a personal dilemma. This is the age-old struggle of the disciple. To advocate and preach the gospel for a King that no one can see and few hear clearly is the call. When I struggle, I do not struggle alone. The struggle is for all of us; to bring the kingdom to life here on earth, in words and actions, with only a book and the spirit as our guide.
Look at history. God knew words given one time would not be enough. People are stubborn. For this reason, She gave words to Adam, to Abraham, Deborah, and Ruth. She gave words to Moses, Elijah and the prophets as well. Then, She gave a new Word to the world through Jesus. Who in turn passed this Word to Mary, to Peter, and to Paul and to the rest of the disciples. So that they might give the Word to us, future generations, and we might pass it along.
Although, how the Word is conveyed is up to us. How will we articulate ourselves in such a way that gives this life and light to all people?
If the story of God has taught me anything, it is that words are important. They can bring people together. They can tear towns apart. They can transform the world. This is why the words we choose for ourselves matter. They must not indicate hopes and dreams as much as they indicate reality, identity in action. They are not stagnant. They should be as alive as we are.
However, we must not forget, our words never stand alone either. People have been trying to put words to God and The Kingdom for centuries. Many faithful and many biased words have been penned and spoken. Everything is in perspective. With this devotion and this knowledge, I wish to begin to pen words for a thing I only experience, God’s Kingdom at Chapel Roswell.
Chapel Roswell’s motto is “Life and Faith in the Round.” The round indicates our center in Christ as much as the shape of our house of worship. Chapel Roswell is a modern expression of the historic Christian faith for contemporary times. We worship with depth and preach messages of relevance. We are a creative community of believers who see God expressed in many different ways; in oil on canvas, in prayers on paper, in smiles on faces, and food in bellies. As a church within a church at Roswell United Methodist Church, we see all persons as equally valued in the sight of God. We welcome all at the table who seek to live in communion with one another regardless of age, race, ethnicity, ideology, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic or ability status. We believe God’s work did not begin in the Chapel and does not end in the Chapel. As we have received grace, we so give it. We are a missional church for a hurting and broken world and will find ways to meet people where they are, no matter what.
In these words, I see the Word. The Word that was life and light to all people. Although I still recommend people experience Chapel Roswell for themselves, I feel at peace now that I can articulate this piece of the Kingdom.