Tonight I slipped across Main Street between meetings to grab a cup of coffee at the Starbucks. They're getting to know me already, one barista has asked me to pray for some he cares about and the nonfat, no whip mocha is no surprise even if it's not memorized, just yet.
I grew up watching my feet beneath me on brick sidewalks, and I still find it energizing. This posh part of the town I'm serving, though, has little to do with the historical town, little to do with the church and its people. National brand outlet stores surround the church, so close that you almost have to be looking for it to find it.
But today as I pulled into my parking space, the one with the sign that protects my spot from consumers, I saw a couple watching me, and when I got out of the car, they asked if I might be the pastor? Visiting from Georgia, they noticed the banner on the front of the church and wanted to see the place in this shopping Mecca where God is still speaking.
It's the challenge the church faces. Can we find a way to work together, to figure out what really matters, to be the faithful people of God on Main Street despite Burberry and Timberland and Ralph Lauren? Can we mean something to the eclectic residents, from those who go back to the town founders to those who work in the stores to the people who have come from away to live in the "country" areas nearby?
And those are very near by, less than a quarter of a mile from Main Street, right down from the fire station and just beyond an ancient cemetery, there are cows on the corner.
I know more about cappuccinos and scones than I do about cows. I'm at home on Main Street, walking past the places that push shoes and children's togs. It occurs to me that a pastor too comfortable there probably needs a push from without or within to take that walk down the hill, to sit and listen to the concerns that come with age and long residence. I like both, so there must be others like me. I have a feeling it's not too soon to start praying for that person to come to the church on Main Street.