Saturday, February 4, 2012

Newsletter article by VMS: Secure in the Arc of the Rainbow

Shortly after Steve and I arrived here, our new Redeemer family held a welcome reception for us at the home of our own Mary Walker. It was a beautiful day, Mary’s garden was lovely, and the food was, in typical Redeemer fashion, sumptuous. I enjoyed watching the children run and play, observing the patterns of friends talking to one another, then watching the groups shift as conversations led them. The flow was easy, the friendships varied. It truly was a beautiful day.

Suddenly, the sky grew grey, and it began to drizzle, then rain. The sun came back out before the rain stopped, and this is what we saw: a double rainbow! It’s hard to see a rainbow and not hear the voice of God from the story of Noah in the 9th chapter of Genesis: "This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth." (v 17)

This image returned to my memory as I reflected on our Annual Meeting last month and our two-and-a-half year journey together so far. I love how in the rainbow given to us as gift that day, the second rainbow is dimmer than the first one. I saw that as our rainbow, Redeemer’s rainbow, part of and generating from the main rainbow, but also distinct from it, as if it were the offspring of the main rainbow. The promise of God to Redeemer for a new chapter in its life of worship and service in God’s name attached to the promise of God to all flesh on earth. Inspiring!

As I looked over the photos from that day, I realized that we are truly a church reborn. Many of the people in those pictures aren’t present with us anymore, for various reasons. So many who are vital to our new life today, weren’t among us yet. We are a new generation.

During the first six months of my ministry here at Redeemer, we embarked on a communal journey of discernment. We called the tool we used then the “Purple Sheets” (simply because they were printed on purple paper). The tool had two purposes: 1) to help me learn what was going on here at Redeemer and who was doing it; and 2) to encourage all of us to envision our future together. From these purple sheets, our priorities were established. In 2010, the Year of our Re-Birth, our feeding ministry was born – it was Redeemer’s first priority. The second priority was a vital youth program, which is why 2011 was the Year of our Youth.

As we enter 2012, The Year of Hospitality, we do so as a new generation living in times that are markedly different from what they were two and a half years ago (economically, socially, etc.). So now is a good time for us to journey once again in intentional discernment, discovering together who we are – now - and prayerfully listening for whom God is calling us to be - now.

Please pray for your vestry and clergy who will be in retreat Feb 4-5, preparing to lead the new generation at Redeemer into the future we will envision together under the merciful guidance of God. Our community remains securely covered by the arc of the double rainbow that remains our gift from God, who is steadfast in love, full of compassion, and supplies all our needs.

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