What a wonderful weekend! What kicked it off for me was a community organizing workshop that I sat in on Friday afternoon. At Luther Place (the church where I work), I share office space with Washington Interfaith Network – a group of organizers that pull churches and others together in the DC area to fight for housing issues. I had never heard of community organizing before this year and am learning more every day about what it consists of. The more I learn, the more I think that it’s a skill everyone should have! So on Friday, I had arranged for one of the organizers from WIN to speak to the group staying at the Steinbruck Center about power. It was a very interesting conversation about the world as it is and the world as it should be. About how today’s world is run by power…often misused. When the organizer asked each of us if we wanted power, many of us said no, not really. Then we began to list people in the world that had power. Hitler came up multiple times, and she made the connection for us that of course we wouldn’t want power if it would compare us to people like Hitler! But the “world as it should be” was primarily being run by love. And love, she said, is just senstivity without power. And power is dictatorship without love. The two, rather, should be intertwined! There is no way we are going to make real change in this world just by loving people (a fact that is often hard for me to swallow!). After all, who was a better community organizer than Jesus Christ himself! But as many of us probably heard in today’s gospel, Jesus should some power himself; there was more than just love in his actions of turning tables in the temple!
Well, after the session with WIN, I joined up with my housemate Kristen and fellow LVCer John for a roadtrip to Lewes, Delaware. We had planned for a few months now for the three of us to visit John and Erna Steinbruck – cofounders of N Street Village, Lutheran Volunteer Corps, and many other ministries. John was the pastor of Luther Place from (approx.) 1971-1997 – a time of great change for the congregation. I visited them once in November, but was encouraged to come back with some friends.
After a warm and welcoming dinner, the conversation was rich and inspiring to all three of us – each there seeking some sort of answers, support, or inspiration.
Watching John and Erna speak, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the earlier session on power. John seemed to embody the ideas of power and action, and Erna the importance of love. What a team! Together, they could take on the world – and did in many ways, creating change and challenging others to do the same.
Pastor John wrote his thesis on hospitality in the church, but it’s a lesson learned that echoes in their household just the same. John and Erna fed us until we were stuffed, showed us the love of family, and through conversation, showed care and concern for where we each had come from and where we’re going.
We spent the night and had a relaxing Saturday walking around the beach, getting a car tour of historic Lewes, and sandwich-napping! What wonderful bonding time for me, Kristen, and John.
Living in a city this year creates an occasional yearning to “get out of the city!”, and boy oh boy were we blessed to have that chance to escape and be fed physically, spiritually, and emotionally!
It’s been a slow Sunday today, though I’m about to head off to dance class. I have yet to learn how to keep my heart and mind relaxed and my body hip-hoppin!