Story and photos submitted by the Rev. Stephanie Price, Associate Pastor, Hope UMC
Last Saturday, June 27, I pulled into the dirt drive off of Powhaton Road in Aurora, Colorado, wondering if I had landed at the wrong green cattle fence. The exceptional summer rainfall combined with the absence of my grazing cow-friends had changed the landscape of this outdoor sanctuary into something unrecognizable. I got out of my car, unchained the fence, and wandered around the hip-deep forest of lavender, wheat grass, and prickly plants. We'd have to set up camp next door in the cornfield, I decided. A three-tent sanctuary, some lawn-chair pews, a borrowed cooler as an altar ... this is the 3D version of John Wesley's the world is our parish, I thought.
I'm not sure I can put into words what it feels like to worship at The Land. Surrounded by 15 human and furry friends, ages 2 to 90, you settle into this wilderness and for a few hours your heart calls it home. There are no hymnals and we have no lectern. The message is the gathering and the prayer is our presence. In the open, vulnerable place of the field we have nothing and everything all at once. We share Communion and wander out to plant and pray for the visions of what is yet to come in all that God has already provided: a faith community that feeds its neighborhood with food, faith, and farming. In the midst of City Planning meetings, endless grant applications, and an eternal to-do list, it's worshiping in this place for which we plan that teaches us our labors are not to plan for something that is to come, but to participate in something that is already taking place.