Last week, I spent a few days away at a conference. When I returned, as soon as I stepped out of the car, I could smell the sea and knew I was home. The next few days proved busy with little time to process all that had taken place at Going for Growth, the conference I attended. And so, tonight, it was to the smell of the sea that I returned, to walk the beach, to listen to waves lapping on the shore and gulls crying overhead and to allow my jumbled thoughts to find a measure of order.
And I find myself more able to begin to name some of the blessings that I experienced in community with others who are exploring together how to be part of God's Missional communities in our neighbourhoods today.
One of those blessings was that I was surrounded by folk who don't have all the answers but who, together, are asking important questions.
I was surrounded by folk who don't have it all sorted but who, in their brokenness are seeking healing and renewal of spirit.
I was surrounded by folk who didn't take themselves too seriously but who, with humour are facing hard truths.
I was surrounded by folk with the courage to say: "This isn't working", but who are discovering resilience to try other ways and walk unfamiliar paths.
I was surrounded by folk willing to share their stories, willing to share their vulnerability, willing to listen, willing to recognise and commit to the journey we make together.
And I am encouraged that God is doing a new thing and invites us to take part.