You Are Now Entering Your Mission Field (MLA 1)

Jennifer Merck summons us to our mission field.

Dorothy Esther Roush Kuhlmann — my Grandma Kuhlmann, Dottie to her friends — was born and raised on a dairy farm in Western Michigan. She moved to Chicago, but her little sisters stayed in Hastings. As I was growing up, this is where we visited Aunt Mary and Aunt Lois.

Occasionally, we would go to Aunt Mary’s United Methodist Church on Sunday morning. The last time I was there was for Aunt Lois’ funeral, 15 years ago. Green Street United Methodist Church is a massive red brick structure, with a grand dome of a sanctuary reaching toward the sky. Its dark, wooden pews are worn down smooth from years of congregants sliding in to worship.

In many ways, Aunt Mary’s church was old. The building was old. The congregation was old. When we visited, it felt like they were pleased, but surprised, to welcome children to Sunday worship.

There is one thing I remember about Green Street UMC that I am sure they got right. I knew it then, and I know it now. After the service, we’d walk down the stairs to the little lobby, just inside the doors to the parking lot. We’d take our coats off the hangers on the rack by the door. As we walked out into the parking lot, I glanced up at the mural above the doors — painted in large letters:

You are now entering your mission field.

The last time the Souls gathered physically for worship together was March 8. It remains unclear when we’ll be able to be together again. We are finding ways to gather, virtually. We are on the phone. We are on social media. We are praying and hoping and finding ways to remain connected. There is one thing I’m sure of, though:

We are now living in our mission field.

I wonder what God is calling us to do while we’re here.