I am on my way to the hospital the other morning to visit someone who was scared and asking for prayer. On the way there, my phone rings, and the name that pops up on the display is someone who I recently met who probably needs a ride to work or they will be late. While I am sitting at the light contemplating what to do, a man with a sign saying he needs some work taps on my car door, motioning for me to lower my window.
Not one of these three people are members of our church family. One is a friend of friend, another I just recently met, and the last is a total stranger. You'll understand when I say that they are "beyond us, beyond here".
Meanwhile, within my to do list - scattered among things like "write sermon" and "pay bills" and "plan Valentine's Day” - there is a list of names. This list includes people within our church family who have come to mind. For various reasons, I'm compelled to reach out to them and check in, or connect, or reconnect, or offer help (Can I pause right here and just say that I love my job!). I rarely make it through the whole list, but you will understand when I say that they are "among us, right here."
We are in a season where you are hearing me remind you weekly that our leadership feels the call of God on us as a church to reach out to people who are "Beyond Us, Beyond Here". And you've been hearing me protectively say that are called to do this without neglecting "any of us who are here".
Today, I want us to acknowledge as a group that this is easier said than done. Now, that is not an excuse to not be faithful to this call, but it is just an acknowledgement that faithfulness requires facing and overcoming some very real barriers. And today, I want us to face the very real barrier of capacity.