After multiple trips to Nicaragua over the years, you’d think I could have learned more of the Spanish language than that one phrase! Other than “Gracias”, “Si”, or “No”, “Donde esta el Bano” is the extent of my Spanish Vocabulary. Plus, whenever I attempted to speak in Spanish, my “Kentucky, Southern, and slightly redneck” dialect from being raised in the (AMAZING) state of Kentucky would come out.
It means, “Where’s the bathroom?” This is a key phrase when you are there, especially after eating beans and rice at most meals!
Even though I had a hard time communicating with words, there were so many other ways of communication and I learned a lot. I learned that God wants me to trust in God’s flow and fidelity with all things. I learned that I try to depend too much on my own means and not on God. When you are around some amazing folks who are used to getting one meal a day, yet are so happy and insist on being extremely hospitable to you, you begin to wonder who’s really wealthy. We may have some financial means, but they have a spiritual wealth that can only come from God.
Recently, many in our church went on a work trip to Oak Hill, West Virginia. I was able to join them for a couple of days. These opportunities are full of great experiences of having to trust each other, new folks that are met along the way, and to lean in on God as God communicates to us God’s love.
God wants to take us out of our comfort zones and stretch us on adventures in our everyday lives that have eternal impacts. In essence, that is what the church is about. We want to take risks in relationships with others and have some great adventures together. We do this so that we can become something. What do we become? Persons who learn together what it means to trust God in a world where there isn’t much trust and grow towards maturity in our relationships with each and with God.
I’m equally excited for what God is going to be doing with Fleming Road UCC this next year. We have a great church staff, council, congregation, and an amazing God who wants to co-create something beautiful with and within all of us!
We are also partnering with the Economics of Compassion Initiatives “Oasis” summer camp in our neighborhood this summer. This is a great example of neighborhood churches coming together for the common good…and an opportunity for us to grow and experience life as we build our community while building friendships.
I believe that these words from Paul in Romans as translated by Rev. Eugene Peterson are especially important for us during this season of life in our church. God is communicating to us! Life can get us down, but whether we are 18 or 88, God has given us LIFE and God’s Spirit is breathing new possibilities into all of us! God has not given us a life to simply wait for the grave to live in the “sweet bye and bye”, no, eternal life, abundant life in God’s Presence, starts now! Let’s live with joyful anticipation and take some good risks in loving others, ourselves, and God well!
Romans 8:5, 14, 18-19
 Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s Spirit is in them—living and breathing God!
 God’s Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go!
This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?”
 That’s why I don’t think there’s any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times.
 The created world itself can hardly wait for what’s coming next. Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens.