Last Sunday we decided to begin scouring the city for a congregational home, a place to worship for our final year of seminary.
We awoke to an early alarm and bustled our way to the nearest bus stop, caught the #55 to the Red Line, and let Chicago’s elevated train cars carry us across the city. Our hands cradled the books we’d brought, which made for a nice ride and an even nicer metaphor. The Red Line is as good a classroom as any. As the neighborhoods pass by, so do the different populations of passengers who file in and out of the sliding doors; ride the El for a day and you’ll learn more about this city than a hundred books could teach.
At the Addison stop passengers spill out into the streets, and so do we, to a congregation only a few blocks from baseball’s Friendly Confines. The preacher reads the lesson from Luke’s gospel, a vivid story of the divisions between God’s people, the wide chasm between rich and poor, a canyon between the classes that exists in our world as much as Luke’s. Yet the final word, grace of graces, is not a sentence but a sending. “Go in peace,” the preacher tells us, “serve the Lord.”
As we re-board the train to return home, I notice a sign over the exits that could fit over church doors as well as the CTA’s. It reads, in big, block letters: “OUT TO STREETS AND BUSES.” Indeed.