Last night, I had the opportunity to anoint with oil half of our 545 Gathering and I found myself honored as people from our community moved forward toward me, allowed and even welcomed me to put my finger on their foreheads and make the sign of the cross as I said this simple phrase, “I anoint you with oil but be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
There are certain tangible acts (the Lord’s table, baptism, laying on with hands and anointing with oil) that our community participates in that transcend basic acts of worship. When I engage in these acts, I am consistently left contemplating how amazing God is to work through people like me (frail, despicable, sinful and at the same time holy). As I connected with people through this simple act, I looked people in the eye, put a small amount of oil on my finger and then when I could, I would address them by name and say the phrase above. It was a unique and special night for me.
There were many people there last night that are special in my transition to Solana Beach PC. At one point in the process of anointing, I realized that there was a young couple that was moving forward for me to anoint them who would be moving this week to work in another church in Champaign, Illinois. As they made their way closer and closer to me, I felt emotion that I did not expect.
I had mixed emotions as they moved closer to me. There was a longing inside of me that said, “Stay! Please, stay and join with us in our movement to become a missional church. We need your help. I need your help.” And at the same time, I wanted to celebrate with them as God will use them in incredible ways as they move to Illinois and use their gifts for his movement in our world.
As I anointed them with oil, I had tears in my eyes at what God was doing in our community of faith as they move on and what God is doing in their lives as they move. I will miss you Kamin’s. I hope we keep in touch and if it doesn’t work out in Illinois, I hope and pray that God would lead you back to our community.
This story is just one of many stories of movement in and out of our community of faith in the past year and a half. These stories of movement make me think about the transitory state of young adults and what a moving target we are. This movement of people to and from our community, makes me realize how out of control much of life is.
My primary role in our community of faith is to cultivate an environment where young adults (18-35 year olds) find life in Jesus Christ and his community of faith. In the last year, I have experienced highs and lows of this role and call to cultivate this kind of space for young adults. In our transitory cultural setting of North County San Diego, how do we create this space where young adults intentionally put down roots, use their gifts and invest in our community? Yes, I want the gifts of young adults recognized, used and sent out across the world (even Illinois) but I also long for people to settle in and make a home in our larger community. At this point in my life, I have more questions than answers.