As I listened to Andrew share a bit of his journey with Bloom over the years and what he sees in the community now, I felt a sense of loss and a great excitement all at once. As we say goodbye to Andrew and we step into this new season at Bloom, the very nature of it is going to be filled with moments of missing Andrew and of joyful anticipation of seeing what our community could become.
Honestly, I don’t think we should be too surprised by that because that kind of paradox is definitive of the Kingdom. I have been following Jesus for over 15 years now, and if there is one thing I’ve continued to see and learn over and over again it’s that life in the Kingdom means there is not much for which you can plan. We know this, of course, but when transitions like the one we’re experiencing happen it forces us to own that truth in a different way. Life with God is not a handbook. It isn’t a step by step process. It just isn’t that easy and it can’t be.
And the truth is that none of us anticipated this; none of us would have written it this way. Yet, here we are — this group of people in Denver, Colorado in the year 2017 — trying to give our lives to Jesus, fumbling and bumbling and celebrating along the way. Sometimes God calls some of us to other places, and we mourn and bless and send those people on their way. Sometimes God asks us to go in a different direction than we would have chosen, and we mourn and bless and go on our way believing he has something for us. Sometimes God asks us to jump into his Church and be a part of something that we can’t quiet get our hands or hearts around, and we mourn and bless and jump in and try to hold it and love it because we believe he is a God who only gives good gifts to his children.
Bloom — life with God is as wild as the mountains we see on the horizon every day. We see them from our apartments and as we drive down the roads, and they appear inviting and fun. Then you drive into them, and you realize they’re even more giant than they appear. Then you park your car, put on your pack, and walk a few miles into them… and you start feeling like “What am I doing here? I have no business being here, besides these things on my back I couldn’t survive here for even one week.” THAT is what Jesus is doing here among us… The dream of Bloom has and and is and always will be exciting and inviting. And the more we give ourselves to it, the more we find paths and obstacles we never could have seen beforehand. We’re a few miles in and here we all are — saying yes to the things Jesus has given us and trying to let the Spirit use them in such a way that life arises. And we’re brought to another new place.
Hear me. We’re going to be okay. God is not surprised by Andrew leaving or by our uncertain emotions and reactions to it. God is not surprised about where we will be next year or the year after. Our God sees us and loves us all. He has ALREADY made us into a strong and beautiful and vibrant Church. Bloom — when the leadership looks out at you we see such vitality and creativity and kindness and love. God has brought us all to a new place, and we’re going to run into it because that is what you do in the Kingdom. Some of us will have skinned knees and will need to take it a little slower, and that’s okay. Some of us will run forward and see something exciting and scream back to the rest of us to come and see it, and that’s okay. Some of us will need to sit down and cry because we had to leave our home or family behind, and that’s okay. Some of us will put our heads down and start walking because we don’t know what else to do, and that is okay. But the point is, is that we’re in this together.
So I invite you to come with us. This leadership team will continue to miss Andrew, and we will joyfully look to the future right alongside you. There is room for you. We believe in you. We love you. We need you. And all the while, there is this God, who is our foundation and our covering, our first love, our maker and our dream giver, and he is the one who will carry us, his bride, into his bright future. He is not done yet.
-Melissa Guthrie, along with David Blankenship