This Wednesday, I was privileged to take a day apart with my UMC colleagues at the Warm Beach Retreat Center near the Camano Island.  At the retreat the pastor from Marysville UMC, Rev. Jenny Smith, shared pieces of a four-part sermon series she put together around Elaine Heath’s wisdom about cultivating a prophetic and loving voice in this world.  In order to cultivate a loving and prophetic stance in the world we need 4 stances:

  1. We need to show up: for ourselves, God, and others.

  2. We need to pay attention: to what’s going on inside of us and around us.

  3. We need to learn how to cooperate with a God who is already present in our work.

  4. We need to release the outcome: to be open to God’s unpredictable presence and unexpected outcomes. 

In the next 4 weeks I’m going to take each one of these stances and share my experience of them.

When I think of Showing Up, I can’t help but think of Cyndy’s mom and dad: Jocelyn and Clair.   When we first got married, we really didn’t think much of anyone else.  We were in love!  We wanted an outside wedding, and so we picked a beautiful outdoor amphitheater near one of our favorite lakes.  We didn’t consider that Cyndy’s mom had MS and was in a wheelchair.   But when the day arrived there was Clair pushing Joc over some rough terrain just to get to the gathering.  Joc was going determined to show up for our big day!   From that moment on they came to every event we had, often traveling over 100 miles to get there.  As a band and choral director, I had events throughout the year, and for everyone of those events Joc and Clair were there!   As Joc’s MS progressed each one of these gatherings took more and more out of her body.  There were times that Joc would end up in the hospital for 2 or 3 days after these events.  There were times when we purposely didn’t tell them about events, for fear that Joce would come and become sick afterwards.  But somehow, they found out, and there they would be! 

Jocelyn and Clair knew how to show up and it made a huge impact on me personally and on our whole family.  To know that someone was “watching” us and cheering us on, provided a sense that we were never alone in this world and that no matter what someone was there for us.

Recently one of our church members traveled to Dallas, TX.   While he was down there, he visited Kellen Shoup, a member of our church who is going to school at TCU in Fort Worth.  Pictured above is there picture.  The smile on Kellen’s face is the smile that was on my face when Joc and Clair practiced the stance of “showing up” in my life!  

May we as a church, learn to show up for each other!

Your friend and pastor, trying to Show Up more in places where it matters the most, Brook

Tim Schaaf