This is a 55-minute long video of a sermon delivered by Britt Merrick* at one of the network of churches he founded called "Reality." This is, I believe, his home church, in Santa Barbara. You can learn more about Reality churches and missions HERE. They see their growth as part of a process called "church birthing," to emphasize their own emphasis on family, as a reality and as an idea.
Reality is a family of churches. Reality Carpinteria was born on September 7, 2003. Since that time we have birthed churches in Los Angeles, Stockton, and San Francisco, CA. We also have a grandchild in London, England, that was birthed from Reality LA. Our next church will be in Boston, MA and is scheduled to start in the fall of 2012. God has called Reality to be a church planting movement. We never sought to be this, but it has become clear that this is what God is calling us to do and be, and it is something we are passionate about.
Though planting is the common metaphor for starting new churches, we prefer to call what we do church birthing. Birthing is more labor intensive and relational than the planting metaphor suggests.
Britt is on a leave of abscence from his pastoral duties and this is a sermon that he felt called to deliver to update the community about his daughter, Daisy, Daisy Love, Daisy Love Merrick. A very cool, brave little girl who is actively dying, trying so hard to die with grace, within the love, grace, and faith of her family, whom she knows to be around her here and waiting for her in Heaven.
The Merricks took Daisy to Israel over the summer for some treatments not available in the United States -- immunotherapy, cancer vaccines, much of which involved the transfer of cells from Britt to Daisy. They road camels.
|Daisy and her brother Isaiah|
|Daisy surfing in Israel|
28 Don’t be afraid of those who kill the body but can’t kill the soul. Instead, be afraid of the one who can destroy both body and soul in hell. 29 Aren’t two sparrows sold for a small coin? But not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father knowing about it already. 30 Even the hairs of your head are all counted. 31 Don’t be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows.
I look at this picture -- among others -- every few days, when I wonder what is happening within. and to, Daisy, Daisy Love, Daisy Love Merrick, Daughter of the Surf. Freckled Little Girl of Inspiring Imagination, and I don't pray. I prayed for Daisy once, and that -- from all I understand
about omnipotence and stuff -- ought to have been enough. Whenever Britt or Kate call for prayer, I bow my head, think of them and their terrible pain, of Isaiah's probably anger and confusion, and always, in that dumb bowed head, see Daisy's face, which, although I know its beauty must be greatly changed, I forever see this way:
And while no prayer comes out, I try to send them love from my heart, and I imagine holding their hands -- thin, dry, damp, sweaty, clenched in a fist, open in a stroke, seeking -- scuttling hands, worrying thumbs, wavering fingers.
*His biography at the Reality Santa Barbara website reads:
I am the founder of Reality and the current Pastor for Preaching and Vision. This means that I do the bulk of the preaching on Sunday mornings for all three campuses, that I guide the church doctrinally, and lead the effort to discern in community (with a plurality of elders) Christ's leading for Reality. The passionate pursuit of my life is to enjoy Jesus. I love my wife Kate, my son Isaiah and my daughter Daisy. I also love surfing, guitars, motocross and books.