I lose things all the time — sunglasses stashed in random pockets, keys left in the door, couch cushions swallowing up my phone. I like to imagine my knack for misplacing objects is just a side effect of being exceptionally present in the world, though I sometimes worry it’s the opposite.
At least being a practiced “loser” means keeping company with fellow followers of Jesus. Jesus said “those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 16:25). Obviously Jesus wasn’t talking about misplacing your keys (though he wasn’t just talking about martyrdom, either). There are plenty of ways to lose your way in life, but what does it mean to lose your life for the sake of Jesus, for the sake of a grand and holy love?
We explored this paradox of getting “Lost and Found” in faith at last week’s young adult Open Chapel. We belted out “Amazing Grace” (I once was lost, but now am found!), and one of our sacred texts was the poem “One Art,” by Elizabeth Bishop, which urges: “Lose something every day. Accept the fluster / of lost door keys, the hour badly spent. / The art of losing isn’t hard to master.” The poem ends with a simple, heartbreaking turn: “Even losing you…” connecting all our little, unremarkable losses with the immensity of life’s great griefs. Maybe surrendering to the banal, everyday “art of losing” is actually essential to accepting our very humanity, the inherent fragility and beauty of this life.
As we move together as a church into the ministry that will flow from our newly ratified Vision Statement (with deep gratitude to all who guided us through the process!) — growing in intimacy, in diversity of worship, and in our commitment to ending homelessness — I encourage us to not be afraid to get a little lost as we find our way. Let’s lose ourselves in both the specificity and the immensity of these goals. Come to church to lose yourself in the weird and wonderful whole, lose yourself in the music, let loose your fears and the sting of grief in the warm embrace of well-knit community. Let’s lose any fixed sense of what counts as “worship” to reach seekers who have yet to find us. Let’s lose our timidity and invite a friend to church, not because we’ve found all the answers, but because we find ourselves in new ways together. Let’s let go of the seeming impossibility of ending homelessness in order to imagine an East Bay where every child of God enjoys the dignity of a stable home. What do we have to lose?