“And he sent them off with these instructions: Don’t think you need a lot of extra equipment for this. You are the equipment. Take only your walking stick — keep it simple.”
— Mark 6:6-8
This Sunday, June 3, we celebrate being the eleven:eleven community and our last Sunday in Wesley Hall. We’ll spend the next several years in the spacious, beautiful Ballroom of the Historic 512 (512 W. 4th St. | Downtown) beginning June 10. You can read more about our move here!
For more than 13 years in Wesley Hall, we have worshipped and sang, heard curious stories and amazing music, delved into the texts of our faith and the poetry of the world, and been transformed in ways many of us would not have imagined years ago! This Sunday we celebrate being a part of such an amazing church community at FUMC Fort Worth and the profound ways diversity of worship and the breadth of faith experience have given witness to a wider space for God’s love. We will celebrate the questions that continue to open our hearts and minds not only to the presence of the holy but also to our place in bringing that presence to life in ourselves and others.
Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken,” was always a favorite of mine as a young adult. I identified so readily with being one who chose the road less traveled and how that has made such a difference for me. But there is another line in this poem which, until more recently, I always seemed to miss but which makes such sense now: “Knowing how way leads on to way . . . I wondered if I’d ever be back.”
This is the profound nature of story, and of the stories of our lives — the most powerful moments are often those that occur along the lesser-known path, and we are never the same. The heroes and heroines suffer confusion, doubt, fear; but they also encounter wise compassionate friends, unexpected gifts of insight, and treasures that changed lives. All change is a kind of traveling down new roads. It can be difficult. We may sense anxiety. But as any good reader knows, the next chapter is also likely to be very exciting.
Jesus told his disciples, there’s very little needed for this new chapter. We have all we need within — we move and live and have our being in the grace and wonder of the holy. Jesus told his disciples, in essence, keep it simple. All you need for this new chapter is your walking stick — the values and stories that have brought balance and love and hope to your life. Leave all the other baggage behind.
I often think of Zach when facing change. Zach was a 12 year old at one of the pediatric oncology camps I worked every summer. It was his third year at camp and his cancer had returned earlier that year. So, just a few months before camp, he had to have his right leg amputated. But he was determined to make it to camp, come hell or high water — which included adjusting to the “new leg” he received. I didn’t find him until late afternoon the first full day of camp. He was standing on his one “good” leg and playing baseball with the prosthetic leg held in the air like a bat. He looked back at me (knowing what I was thinking) and shouted, “Tom, it’s titanium! Can’t break!” He took a swing and got a base hit! He later told me, he has “one good leg and a better one.”
Later that week, I was his partner on the ropes course, guiding him from one station 30 feet in the air to the next. At the end, we both stood on the perch at the top of the zip line post. Staring out 200 yards across the field, 40 feet above the ground, as one of the young adult staff latched him onto the cable while pausing to check a text with his other hand, Zach looked at me and said, “Do you think these guys really know what they’re doing?”
I assured him (having no real idea), “Of course they do!” Zach then wrote something on the post with a marker, unattached his prosthesis, handed me the leg and took a one-legged, superman leap shouting, “Bring my leg with you!” He knew that there’d be no way for me to hold on to the cable AND carry the metal leg. I looked at the post as the questionable expert attached me to the cable. The post was covered with inscriptions like “Let go, the future is waiting,” “No time like the present the present is giving you,” and what Zach wrote, “Always trust your cape!”
I hope you can join us Sunday as we remember eleven:eleven stories and moments and consider the road before us at the Historic 512! We have all we need to make this next chapter an unforgettable one! Feel free to bring your cape or a walking stick!
See you this Sunday!
Associate Pastor of eleven:eleven