I want a t-shirt commemorating this momentous occasion. My first tropical storm! It was horrible – power outages, downed trees, DEATHS. …of course not. For those of us here in Apartment 8 at Dellenback, Irene was little more than a windy storm forcing us inside with a good bout of cabin fever. While others weren’t as lucky (I heard rumors of leaks like waterfalls in the downstairs apartments), our apartment emerged unscathed. It felt much like the “November-to-Remember” windstorms that often hit Seattle, sans weeklong power outages.
Of course, I am not complaining. As I went to bed listening to the rain pound against the window, I was just overcome with gratefulness that I was weathering this storm inside, wrapped up in my comforter, and not outside, homeless, covered by a tarp or even less.
Now that that’s over with, life is getting on again in D.C. — and quickly, too! The sun was shining, the sky was blue, and even though it was a little breezy outside, it turned into a gorgeous Sunday. Hopefully that’s a sign of better things to come?
It must be, because yesterday morning my apartment mates and I ventured down to Barrack’s Row to attend National Community Church. We first wandered to Port City Java, and then through Eastern Market, where local vendors were already setting up for the farmer’s market…the day after a hurricane! That’s dedication to local grub, I guess.
I had heard from acquaintances (i.e. my manager at Starbucks, Tim) that it is a good community (it is in the name, after all, though I’ve been to some “community” churches that are anything but!) and I am already so impressed. Not only did I run into Tim at the service, but he introduced me to Hollie Swartz, whose parents are family friends of ours, AND the campus pastor, AND the campus hospitality director, who invited me to join her small group right off the bat. I felt surrounded by strangers extending love to me — which is totally unusual. Rarely have I felt that at any church…let alone one in a city in which I have only been living for three days.
To compare it to a Seattle-area church, I would say it feels like Mars Hill done right. Even though the pastor’s sermon was taped, it was engaging and real. Even though it was held in an old, open theater, it felt like God was there. The worship was phenomenal and powerful and moving. But I don’t want to build it up before I really experience it. I also don’t want to think about falling in love with NCC and then having to leave in December. I still have not found a true church home in Seattle, so it would devastate me to find it here, only to leave it again so soon.
But now I’m thinking about leaving and I have only just arrived. And besides, the pastor did mention that NCC will plant its first international campus in 2012 — and where else but in Germany? My heart did a little leap of joy. It must be a sign. A very good sign. Thank you, God.