Saturday, June 26, 2010

Forward in Faith

As we enter into the long green season after Pentecost we slow ourselves down to a leisurely pace and invite the meaning and power Easter and Pentecost to penetrate into our consciousness so that they can manifest in our lives. As we go, we are aware that we are moving toward the transformation only God’s grace can provide.

Being transformed by God is something we often desire and fear at the same time, both individually and corporately. We seek it and avoid it. We move towards it, then retreat from it, because change is scary. But so is stagnation. The only way forward is by faith.

I was recently invited to sit on the diocesan Congregational Development Committee (CDC). As I discerned my response, I realized that although I did not feel called to serve on that committee, I still felt compelled to go to the meeting. So, in faithful obedience, I went. During that meeting, another member of the committee spoke of his ministry to the Spanish-speaking faithful in our diocese. The fire of my passion was lit! Looking back, I was right that I was not called to serve on the CDC, but it was necessary for me to go so that I could find the committee on which I was being called to serve. Forward by faith.

We have the freedom as God’s children to live in the present moment entrusting ourselves completely to God’s plan and God’s grace. We also have the freedom to cling to our own understanding and get in God’s way.

We are a prayerful people and so we can be confident as we make our plans, remembering that God’s vision always goes beyond anything we can imagine and God’s plan always leads us to life. Moving from where we are to where we are being led, we know that our path may not be as direct as we might expect. But that’s okay because we also know that God’s plan is trustworthy.

This summer at Redeemer we will be updating and attending to the details of our plan bringing ourselves into compliance with diocesan and national canons, as well as with our own policies and the plan we discerned together (remember those purple sheets!?!) nine months ago: obtaining background checks and Safeguarding God’s Children training for all people ministering to our young members; doing training for all liturgical ministries and getting licenses for those requiring them (Lay Eucharistic Visitors, Lay Readers, etc.); making a plan for our continuing formation and education (adults and children); looking with new eyes at our hospitality to newcomers, re-vamping our website. etc.

You may remember that when we did our initial discernment, I suggested we try on certain things and see how they felt. Some have worked wonderfully, e.g., our desire for a feeding ministry and the birth of The Shepherd’s Table. Others continue to need adjusting. That’s life – and we can only do so much at once. It takes an average of five (5) years for a new rector and congregation to build their life of mission and ministry together. I think we’ve made an amazing start.

Our trials are not over, nor are our celebrations - that is what living in the fullness of life means. So… on we go. Forward by faith.

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