It is quite common for there to be a thick layer of fog surrounding my home early in the morning. The Green river which sets just below our property manufactures a new, low-hanging cloud almost every morning. Even though Heather and I have lived here for over a decade we are still surprised by how a little fog transforms what has become a common landscape into another place altogether. Sometimes the very thing that obscures brings a new kind of clarity.
In this way fog is a great metaphor for coming to church. We all have a life. We all have a spiritual landscape upon which we have laid our foundations. We know it well. We know the boundaries of our lives with some familiarity. We know our strengths and weaknesses. We know where we are dead, and sometimes we know where we are alive. But sometimes what we know, or think we know, keeps us from apprehending what we should know. Sometimes we are blinded by the clarity of the open fields which surround our own existence.
In these moments we need a little fog. And for the life of me, I can’t think of anything as transformative and disorienting as the good news of Jesus Christ. When he settles upon one’s life, everything that was once common and ordinary is new. Sometimes we need the vapors of the divine to settle upon us and obscure our normal vision a little. Sometimes we need our gaze brought a little closer. Sometimes we need to wake up to the fact that we are, quite literally, surrounded.
If church is hitting it’s mark it does all these things - disorients, transforms, re-visions, and surrounds. When we sing together, listen to God’s word together, and take communion together, we are entering the misty domain of God, where our regular senses and ways of being are challenged. In this place, my life gets hidden in a communal life, which is hidden in God. That’s big rhetoric for sure, but it is no less true because of it’s grandeur.
This is the fog that the gospel and the church offer us. It’s the opportunity to have our lives surrounded by God’s people, by God’s word, and by God himself. When you come to the Vineyard I’m hoping that you feel welcomed. I hope that you find a friend or two. I hope that you like the coffee and the kids ministry. But more than anything else, I hope that you find your regular life surrounded, if only for a moment, because just like the mist that settles on Green river, it’s only temporary, and makes us all the more aware of the sun that shines and the hills that we have laid our lives upon - or in other words, the daily graces that we have become almost totally unaware of.