Dear City Church (part 2)

Dear City Church,

Just a quick note to close us out…

First, thank you to Tom, Sarah, Joe, and Caley for letting me into your lives and allowing me to share your stories with our church family. You blessed us all with your openness and vulnerability. I am grateful.

Second, thank you to Madeleine L’Engle who wrote the book that inspired this series. Madeleine would’ve celebrated her 100th birthday on November 29th of last year, right when I was in the thick of it all. According to several of her friends, when Madeleine found herself around people in distress, she had a habit of drawing her 5-foot-10-inch frame to its full height, throwing her arms out, and bellowing, “FEAR NOT!” That image was helpful to me as I put this series together, doubting myself often along the way.

Third (yes, sorry), thank you to Ruffin Alphin for that sermon back in Sepetmber 2018 that prompted me to get over myself and actually do this thing.

Finally, thank you to YOU for reading the Cosmos to Chaos series over these last few weeks. The time I spent writing it formed me in ways I didn’t expect. I hope the time you spent reading it inspired you to think about work—your own and that of others—in a different way.

I want to make sure you all don’t walk away from this series with a feeling of “Now what?” In my heart of hearts, I want to write a letter to each and every one of you. Since I can’t do that, I’m going to share with you the same questions I asked Tom, Sarah, Joe, and Caley during our time together. Their answers to these questions shaped the letters I wrote to them. It’s my hope that when you think about how you’d answer them for yourself, you’re able to start considering how you bring cosmos to chaos—how in your daily work you image God. Because you all do.

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What do you do in your daily work? This can be your day job as well as side hustles, hobbies—anything.

How long have you been doing this work?

How did you arrive at this profession?

What does a typical day look like for you? What are some of your typical tasks?

What parts of your work excite you?

What parts of your work feel like drudgery? How do you pull yourself out of that?

How do you approach your work? What is your process?

Madeleine L’Engle says that work/art is about finding or pulling out cosmos—order—from chaos. That goes along with the idea that we, as God’s image-bearers, are called to bring order to the world. How does that look or play out in your work?

Describe a time when you felt you truly brought cosmos to chaos. What happened? How did that feel?

Describe a time when you failed to do so. What happened? How did that feel?

Where do you feel weight in your work? To put it another way: What burdens you? This can be a positive or negative burden.

God calls us to work, and Jesus invites us into His work, too. In what way do you feel like your work is part of something bigger?

How does prayer factor into your work?

***

To close, let me leave you with just one more quote from L’Engle’s Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art. It gives us important context as we think about our work. May it be the refrain in all of our conversations about how God uses us this side of heaven:

“In a very real sense not one of us is qualified, but it seems that God continually chooses the most unqualified to do his work, to bear his glory. If we are qualified, we tend to think that we have done the job ourselves. If we are forced to accept our evident lack of qualifications, then there’s no danger that we will confuse God’s work with our own, or God’s glory with our own.”

Friends, remember the God who made you.

Remember all He has done through you and for you.

Remember to whom you belong.

Fear not.

And to God be the glory always.

Grace and peace,

Val