Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Solitary Vocation

...can perhaps be caught and held in a picture....

like a photograph of a bird in flight... Such is the solitary vocation. For, of all.... the solitary knows least where they are going, and yet more sure, for there is one thing they cannot doubt: they travel where God is leading them. That is precisely why the solitary doesn't know the way. And that too is why, to most others, the way is something of a scandal. (Thomas Merton)

What's next? - the next nexus in the navigational narrative

As we have traversed through wintry snows and icy storms, the intensely frigid cold of this winter's weather appears to have taken its toll upon our region. Even today it took some doing to drive over some still frozen patches of recently iced country roads and driveways in our area. By the time you read this, some warmer temperatures may very well have melted the ice on our streets, signaling the seasons' incipient passing from winter into spring. In the wake of Epiphany, the order of the day through ordinary time with the days' continued lengthening is for us to approach the Lenten season in faith.


What's next up for each of us in our journey together? As a people of faith in the One Who continues leading us onward and upward in Christ, what does the next season of mission and ministry hold for this gathering of believers in Jesus? To what and where might we find ourselves following our Lord anew for God's glory?


One exciting answer could be that God is yearning to expand our horizons and stretch our fellowship to welcome in more meaningful ways and with deepening relationships some among us who have been worshipping with us for some time now. It has been awhile since I/we have had the blessing, honor, pleasure and privilege to receive and recognize folks expressing interest as inquirers to explore joining with us in the ministry and mission we are called to undertake together in community.


As we find the early disciples in Scripture when first following Jesus, they took care to invite and come alongside others who would also then follow their Lord together with them. In the gospel of John (1:41-42), we see afterward that the first thing Andrew did was to tell Simon of the Messiah and then bring him to Jesus. Might our Lord be calling us to re-up with renewed intentionality our forth-telling and bringing of one another to Jesus Christ? What equipping and action will we experience and take toward the evangelization of each other in this fellowship?


I am sensing in these days a warming up to God's embrace of us as we face the future with hope and faith, love and joy in the Lord. The thawing out of the very sinews of our faith is taking place in order for us to exercise our religious muscles once again for the sake of God's kingdom. Something else needs to be put aside so that we may make room for the new thing our Lord is doing in our midst. As the saying goes during this time of year, "What will we give up for Lent?" What would Jesus have us do anew?


The blessing of renewing one's spiritual disciplines in preparation for the greater works God has prepared in advance for us to walk in is waiting for us to discover just around the corner. As a conference seminar and intensive workshops in emotional intelligence have emphasized for me recently, a growing and deepening self-awareness of where one is in the journey and in conversation with others can be key to discerning well with effective wisdom and insight to bear upon our success in navigating through life's challenges.


From a personal as well as corporate wilderness experience of exile, through times of unease and distress as individuals and a community of faith, into exuberant life as God's vibrant people, we are called anew to be the Lord's witnesses of God's grace in this place. And as is stated elsewhere by some leaders in a letter to Presbyterians:


"…it is in our places of brokenness that the work of Jesus Christ has always been most miraculous. …in the certain faith that this is Christ's Church, …we engage in the re-formation of this church into the church we are being called to be."


To God be the glory!

Pastor Rex

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Hope... in God.... The Source of All Hope

"Our hope in God pulls us into the future. Hope allows us to affirm the reality of the abundant life that is ours in Christ. Hope allows us to stand with those in pain and to hold them until they are able to feel the love of God for themselves again. Hope allows us to work to bring God's reign upon the earth even when we see no results. Our hope begins and ends in God, the source of all hope."
- Mary Lou Redding
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