Getting Your Head On Straight // M-Note 10.2.2020

Dear Gathering,

 Last Wednesday, Dave Merrill, Ryan Hebel, and I drove out to the city where I grew up. We visited a few farms for a video project we are working on at the church. In the morning, we arrived at a home that sits high above the Missouri river. Owned by an older couple that I have known since I was a kid, the house dates back to right around the Civil War and is surrounded by barns, a lake, rolling hills, huge trees, and corn that was ready for harvest. We started off taking a tour of the land with the man who has lived there for over 25 years. Riding on a UTV (think fusion of a four-wheeler and a golf cart), the crisp fall air blew against our faces as we rode around taking in the natural beauty of the land. When we were finished, the woman who lives there wanted to give us a tour. It was fascinating to walk through and around the house listening to its history. We ended on the front porch where I sat down on a white rocking chair and just took in the scenery for a second. The woman rolled up to me with her walker, looked down in silence for a moment, then looked out at the land along with me. After a few seconds had passed, she said, “being out here helps you get your head on straight.”

 She was right. The morning after the debate, my head hurt. Not literally, but I felt more acutely the weight of 2020. A raging pandemic that has us weary and wondering, an approaching election that is turning people uglier and angrier, a financial crisis that has people I love unsettled and insecure, and a country still rife with racism that we can’t even agree to acknowledge much less condemn (you’ll be hearing more on this soon). Closer to home, I miss people, miss church, would love to see my kids back in school, and continue to grapple with how to lead a church in and through such a season. In the midst of all of this, I find that I spend far too much time staring at a screen, headphones in, camera on, sucking wifi, Zooming, typing, worrying about the news, and consuming endless content media. I spend too little time just being, sitting, with a breeze in my face and the sun on my head. It is easier there to get my head on straight. And when I do that, I gain clarity about who I am, what I stand for, and I remember that God is more present and powerful than the chaos.

I know there is much on your mind, as well. So, I encourage you to take note of what is weighing on you and to find time to seek after God. Maybe like me, it would be good for you to unplug for a day, to head outside, to get away whether it’s on a walk to the park, or a hike in the country. Tonight (Webster site) and tomorrow (Clayton site), The Gathering will be having worship outside, a chance to listen to music, hear a short message, and reconnect with God and others. You can bring a chair and join us for it. You can find all the details and get registered here. Whatever you do, remember that every once in a while, you need a little less noise, a little more calm, and a chance to get your head on straight. You won’t regret it!

Thank you all so much for staying engaged online, giving, serving, and helping The Gathering to thrive even in a challenging season. If you haven't, please take a minute to subscribe to The Gathering on YouTube, download our podcast, or share our church with someone in your life that may need it. All of this helps us get the word out, and it is a simple way to offer some good news and hope to those around us.

Peace,
Matt

P.S. Four years ago leading up to the 2016 election, I preached a series on Faith and Politics called Debatable. It is as applicable now as it was then. If you are struggling in our current political climate, I encourage you to give it a listen here. Also, if you want to register to vote, or need help with a notary for an absentee ballot application, The Gathering is hosting a Voter Resource Event this Saturday from 10-2 at our McCausland Site, check out more about it here.

P.P.S. The offices of The Gathering have moved! We are now located at the Webster Site, 921 Edgar Road, Webster Groves, MO 63119. (Some of you who give to The Gathering through your bank’s online bill pay may need to update the address). Also, our new phone number is  314-968-5189.



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