Learning Our Neighborhood
Written By: Kaitlin Schilling
Just a few weeks ago Reunion Church walked around Willard Intermediate School for the first time together. The sun was setting with pinks and oranges in the sky. The soccer field lights had just turned on. The field with brand new turf and big fluorescent lights was like a magnet for the neighboring families. A young mom walked with kids down the sidewalk, an eight year old running ahead. Mom carried a toddler in her arms, calling after the older brother to slow down. A food truck served Mexican treats on the corner. The food truck lined tables with chips and candies, the kind that remind me of childhood.
We split up in different directions, walking the same perimeter of the school block. We crossed each other as some walked clockwise and others walked counter-clockwise. We walked and we prayed, mostly silently. Other times we broke silence to talk with a friend. As I walked with my friend Angela, mom to a beautiful newborn girl, we were captured by the life surrounding the neighborhood. All the people. All the activity. All the sounds. We smiled, “I think we’ll like it here.”
As the sun disappeared and the full moon rose over the school, other things rose too. Our prayers rose from the sidewalk perimeter. The smell of sweet corn elote rose in the air. Most of all, I remember laughter rising from the school. Children giggling, babies cooing, soccer players laughing, mothers and grandmothers chuckling. I realized that my silent prayers for Reunion Church were rising up to God. But more than my prayers rising up to God, God’s love and joy for Willard Intermediate School floated down to me.
You see, I think sometimes God leads us to pray fervently. And fervently we’ll pray! But other times God has sweet words and love to give us. It’s His way of blessing us. It’s His way of teaching humility from a place of grace. That night walking around our new location, I remembered: If all I do is send up signals to God to fix a broken place, I won’t ever see the beautiful mosaics He’s already made there. I remembered we are all learners - learners of the past, learners of each other, learners of God. So as we move into our third week at Willard Intermediate, I see the school and neighborhood with new eyes. I expect big things for Reunion Church in this new neighborhood. But I also can't wait to see how God blesses us through the vibrant, cultured community He’s already grown here.