Mosaic is my church community, that started out as, well, a weird sandwich dinner. You may have heard this one before. Eight years ago I hear about some guys who want to plant a church in Austin, and meet up with them once to see if they’re for real (they are). They (allegedly) meet up with other people in town who are also interested, and schedule a series of interest meetings starting on Sunday nights in mid-February. I am staffing InterVarsity’s Breakthrough conference that weekend and get back late Sunday afternoon. I want to bail on the meeting, but had said I would go, so I end up pulling up to the address a little late. I’m on the phone with my sister, and finish talking to her – at the end of the conversation saying, “I don’t really see very many cars here, but I guess I should go in. I bet I look creepy sitting outside on the phone.”
And besides the guys and their families, there wasn’t anyone else there. We did our best to make a dent in the abundant sandwich materials. And smalltalk, a lot of smalltalk. I didn’t stay super long because I was exhausted from the conference, but the next week I came back, brought a friend, and got to meet some of the other people interested.
And thus began life with Mosaic (we named ourselves that August). We got to know each other through conversations about what we wanted church to be – values, hopes, and dreams. We talked about what we’d seen, we read Action in Waiting (Blumhardt). We watched the US beat Mexico in World Cup soccer at Fado’s – the game was on at 2am.
There was hope, expectancy, and dreams. But this is real life, so there was also confusion and awkwardness. Nights when the hope was wearing thin, and I got tired of trying to explain what kind of church I went to. Times when we were tired of wondering whether we were going to ‘make it’ as a church. That first Ash Wednesday service where the projector was taken right before the service, and we were singing from the powerpoint on a really old Toshiba computer. Oh, and I was leading worship, and there were maybe 8 people there, 2 of them new.
But something happened during that Holy Week – I don’t know what. It wasn’t like we were flooded with people or anything, in fact, a tablecloth caught on fire and almost lit up the curtains. Something shifted, in a good way. And there were still lots of shifts to come, and lots of hard stuff too. We got our own space, and renovated it with very little money. There were nights where the tiles just didn’t fit together right on the bathroom floor, or we needed to take turns painting the air intakes under the furnace with flame-retardant paint and try not to get too high. We got to do it together though, and celebrate moving in to 5619.
I’ve gotten to see and do things with this community that I never dreamed of in the beginning. We had some ideas back then, but what Mosaic has become is so much beyond those early living room conversations.
And I guess that’s why I’m especially thankful for a chance to remember all this during Advent. A friend and I were talking late the other night about Advent, and how hard it is. That a big reason it’s hard to have hope in our mucky situations is because the things God does are so outside of our imagination. We can’t even fathom it because it’s often so outside the box. And it’s so beautiful because it’s outside of what we can imagine.
I’m looking forward to God continuing to do unexpected things and blowing away my imagination.
now playing: Coldplay – Life in Technicolor ii