I've got all these wonderful theological ways of describing why we do what we do as church, as Oasis, but the one thing it boils down to for me is that we're family. Our relationships with each other are really the thing that makes this baby run, and we saw it so clearly at our gathering this past Sunday.
For those of you who weren't there, every so often we like to just kick back (which for us is kind of like telling a man in a hammock that he should swing a little more--we're already pretty laid back!) and put aside the agenda and let anyone who wants to talk about what God is doing in their lives. It took a little while to get there, but in one amazing moment, god took us deep into the hearts of each other, and we ended up gathering around three families dealing with difficult things and praying for them as their...family. Love, care, concern, compassion...family.
Now just to make sure you understand, we think we have family with a purpose, that we live together as family in order to accomplish the mission of God. (Will I ever be able to not hear Dan Ackroyd when I say those words??) We are part of God's larger story, we are joining with him is his rescue of the world, we want to love those around us, those in our personal communities, with the love of Jesus. But in order to do that, we need a place of support and encouragement; a place where we can find healing and compassion; a place to celebrate and commiserate; we need...family. People who love us no matter what. People who are partnered with us in this greater purpose. People who will watch out for me, challenge me and cry with me. People who will remind me of why I'm here and of the God who loves me.
When you're family and not an organization, you put up with a lot more from each other. You overlook a lot. You're much more accepting. We may have chosen to be part of Oasis, but it's God who has made us family, and you can't fire your relatives.
Thanks John, Michelle, Susan, et al who helped us get below the surface on Sunday, and experience the connection that God wants for us as his church...his family.