My D.C. family
It’s not about the place; it’s about the people
As I was wandering about my business today, I was trying to decide what in the world I should address in this blog -still in its infant stage.
Work has been interesting, to put it one way. Let’s just say that obtaining information from the government has to be just about as difficult as catching a fly with chopsticks. (Sorry for the rather crude comparison, but it just so happens that I watched Karate Kid —the original, thank you — for the first time this week.)
The weekend was fabulous. Saturday turned into a Shakespeare appreciation day involving perusing old play scripts at a museum and watching them come to life by amateur actors on stage.
But easily, the most memorable parts of my week involved church.
“Oh no,” you may be thinking. “Here comes the sermon.” Perhaps.
Raised Baptist and by the guidance of dear, godly parents, church has always been an integral part of my life. I was very involved in youth group and mission trips in high school, and have had the privilege of mentoring junior high girls from church while in college.
But the past month here in Washington has made me appreciate the church body more than ever before. CHBC is the name of my newfound family — Capitol Hill Baptist Church. Located just blocks from the Capitol itself, CHBC is filled with intelligent lawyers and lawmakers, the people who help run our nation. But that is not what strikes me the most about these people. In the midst of a hectic, important city, they are some of the most gracious, welcoming and God-fearing individuals you will ever meet.
People in that congregation show a genuine interest in each other and in visitors, and sacrifice hours of their afternoon and weeks to make others feel welcome and at home. As I sat across from my new CHBC accountability partner over a caramel frappuccino Monday night after a straining, unsettling day at work, I thought to myself how blessed I was that someone who had just learned my last name was willing to come alongside me and mentor me for the few short weeks of my time here.
I had been warned by many to be leery of the doctrines purported in D.C. Many churches, I heard, have fallen pray to the “prosperity gospel” and gotten caught up in the throws of self-absorption. But not CHBC.
Despite the level of position and intelligence of the congregation, the teaching is solid and the people unaffected. This week’s Romans 3 message honed in on the just nature of God, which the speaking pastor didn’t diminish or water down in the least bit. And the two-hour service left me thirsting for more, rather than drained.
This church — the Bible studies, the emphasis on accountability partners and church membership, on hospitality and on humility — has to be about the most genuine one I have ever encountered.
So, what does that all boil down to?
God and people. I’m not going to say every aspect of moving away from everything to live in the nation’s capital has been easy as cake. Work can be frustrating. Friends and family are farther than I’d like them to be. As much as I thrive on adventure, even adventure has its downsides.
But even 2,285 miles away from everything familiar, one thing is certain — the family of God extends beyond Biola and everything else that’s “home.”
A life lesson from the city of statues and of memorials, of policy and of politics, of sinners and of saints.
Weeks down: 4
Weeks to go: 6