Grace "splits" this weekend. We will be "there," and we will be "here." Many of us will be together for the Annual Grace Weekend ("Dare to Dream") at Fort Warden, in Port Townsend-and many of us will be right here, worshipping at GraceLand. These annual weekends at Fort Warden are a remarkable part of our history and tradition. They really amaze me, frankly. This year more than 150 Gracies will take over all those homes along the parade grounds. Kids will run house to house; parents will let kids roam; folks without kids will cook lovely food for each other, and then invite parents to wander in for a moment of "grown-up" life. Back porches and the back alley will be crammed with bikes and people will step over and around each other as conversations happen on back steps. From front porches we'll shout and wave hello. And, this year, it looks like we'll have some reason to gather indoors around fireplaces as well, or bundle up to head to the Lighthouse for storm watching. Can we hope for board games and movies? I might even look for a poker game to break out (although I think I was banned from that years ago!). The energy and gracious good will that make this weekend possible are gifts to be treasured. Petra has a wonderful group of Hosts waiting for us, and I can say without hesitation that the food already prepped for Saturday night will amaze us. Most of all, I know that through this effort new friendships will be formed and lives will be enriched.
I've said before that this Weekend awakens in me a sense of wonder-sets me to wondering, really, about how life "can be." Or how I sometimes dream it could be. Of course, my hope on Saturday morning is that we'll all have some time to talk about our dreams. The awakening for me is to a dream about life lived together, in community, sharing family and faith and dreams. Sharing more than what a Sunday morning can offer us. When I was young I remember so vividly the model "village" my Dad built from balsa wood blocks. Little houses, shared townhouses, elder care units and assisted living, an acre of farmland, studios for young people, a huge community center and dining room. And in the middle of it all-a church. This model village never found roots in the real world, but it settled into some hearts-like mine. In this dream, the church was open to all and everyone, but the residents of the Village were the ones who kept it open, provided the love and support and spirit-and resources. No one was left alone. The inspiration for all this modeling was really pretty simple: "Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul . . . and there was a not a needy person among them." (The Book of Acts 5:32.) It's fairly true, or at least fair to say, that the seeds of that dream grew in me, and what matters the most to me in our shared life is that we do indeed share our lives. With some depth. Sharing not just stories of recent adventures or happy milestones, but the actual experiences of hope and love and loss. And the daily uplift and let down of our real lives. Imagine really doing just that--of living so side by side that we could, and would.
Wherever you find yourself this weekend, let your guard down and your self out. Dare to share a dream with a Gracie. Something real. About you. Not an idea you have for something, but instead a piece of your real life. Let's connect our lives not just through back doors and back stoops, but through our hearts. That's my dream--which sometimes comes true on Sunday mornings, "here" and "there."
PS: Yes, we all should expect some weather this weekend. Cliff Mass says so, and therefore it must be true. So come to Fort Warden prepared. Naturally! And if you are traveling up for Sunday worship-a really good guess is that we'll be in the Chapel (right by the entrance)-or down at the Lighthouse being blown by the Spirit!