College Park 2011: A Strange Tribe

Sermon by Matt Cravey
December 25, 2011

Why don’t I just stick with the smaller, more practical, safer dreams? I think it has to do with the company I keep at College Park:

They dream bigger when they should and then work hard to make sure things happen.

They cook pancakes at Applebee’s at six in the morning so they can raise enough money to go to San Francisco and see the best and worst of what humanity is capable of.

They sponsor “Green Queen Bingo” in order to tell the gay and lesbian community of Greensboro that there is a place where they are welcome to come as they are to worship a living God.

They zip line through the treetops together enjoying God’s creation and each others company. A motley band of 60 adventurers ranging from age 5 to however old Phyllis Kelly is. They encourage the ones who are afraid of heights and offer a hand to those who become too tired to climb.

They do things seldom done in groups with the word “Baptist” in their title. They Zumba, Yoga, drum, and even enjoy wine together. Families watch movies together in the fellowship hall and go to baseball games. Youth go on mystery trips that end up involving feeding and petting giraffes.

They openly share the dreams and insecurities of their sixteen year old selves in order to know each other better and to show their own young that “It gets better”.

They start a discussion about renovating a chapel and end up with a plan to finally make the fellowship hall and choir rooms accessible to all.

They allow and encourage two graduating seniors with seemingly polar opposite personalities to preach on Sunday morning and get just as much insight from each of them.

They make sure that no strange cats wandering around their building go to bed hungry.

They play softball and Frisbee together.

They help build townhouses for new Habitat homeowners when the conventional wisdom is to stay out of real estate.

They make sure their organist and minister gets the rest he needs at the risk of him developing “Organ” envy at the churches and cathedrals that he visits in Europe.

They walk together to raise money for A.I.D.S. research.

They welcome and delight in new children like Atticus, Andrew, Iris, and Snappy and make sure that tired moms and dads get a break.

They make sure that two girls from Georgia fit right in with a new home and a new church family.

They help say goodbye when parents and loved ones die. They don’t stop caring when the funerals are over.

They mow and rake yards for the members who can’t quite do it for themselves anymore. They make sure that the residents at Greensboro Urban Ministry are served a hot meal with dignity at least once a month. They make sure that hungry kids have food on the weekends. They do all of these things all year long, even when no one is looking.

They take the time to check in with the kids that aren’t even their own just to make sure they know that they are loved and they are noticed.

They don’t just listen to Silent Night and Away in a Manger on Christmas but also a cantata by Bach in German with an eight piece orchestra and are moved to tears by the beauty of the music.

They make sure that the children are taught the importance of serving others at the youngest possible ages by taking cookies to firefighters and working in the gardens at Hospice’s Kid’s Path.

They discuss the theology behind books about war, sex, and zombies over pizza and beer.

They are a strange tribe no doubt.

However they all believe that God can use them to do something important and spend a good deal of time trying to figure out just what that is. They see God’s light in others and do what they can to help other people meet their calling. Most of us realize this is a very short ride that we are all on and so dreaming the wild dreams and taking the unsure adventure is really the only thing that makes sense and is the only way you get to see what is running down the tracks through the middle of downtown while everyone else is sleeping.