Monday, July 28, 2008

Narrow Road

Monday mornings are slow for me. I usually attend three services on Sunday (sometimes four.) After I get home at night, I just want to drink a cup of tea and read. (Although last night I played a video game - a totally useless, unproductive and slothful way to spend one's time.)
Mia culpa; mia maxima culpa!

Anyway, Monday morning is my Sabbath, a time to stop and allow my soul to catch up to my body. That's what I'm doing this morning. So although I have tons of stuff to do today and will have even more to do the rest of the week I am just not ready to tackle it yet. I'll get to all that stuff in a couple of hours. But I need to ease into it. Some Mondays I just don't have that luxury; today, thankfully, I do!

I have been sitting here listening to a CD by Keith and Meagan Cook. Its called Narrow Road. Both Keith and Megan grew up in Christ Church and I have known their parents forever. So wow,am I surprised. Their music is wonderful; I am amazed at its texture and serious playfulness. ( I really like #6, Casting Out Devils!)

So I was just thinking, sitting here listening to Keith and Megan's CD, about what I need to do to become a good pastor to this church.

I was voted in as senior pastor a few weeks ago and since then have been trying to listen and learn about how to serve this community.

Last night we celebrated communion in the PM service. I watched as people came forward to receive the wine and bread. I watched the servers take their time to pray and minister to each communicant. As they prayed and served, our musicians allowed the Spirit to play through them. Song after song, they kept going deeper into worship and soulful connection to God. Soon, the air was filled with glory and wonder. After the benediction, no one wanted to leave.

I am sitting here reflecting about all of that. I'm thinking about ways to encourage and strengthen our leaders and church workers. I want to find ways of releasing the gifts of our people and focusing those gifts toward the redemptive work of Christ in this city and in the world. I am asking for grace and wisdom to lead this flock to be what God wants it to be.

But listening to this CD -- Narrow Road -- marveling at the grace of God on the gifts of a new generation of Christian leaders -- it strikes me that all I have to do is stay out of God's way. If I do all I can to shelter vision when it is small, encourage talent when it is tender, recognize a calling when the voice of God is still faint to the young ears that hears it; if I can just say "yes" to the desire of people who want to make a difference instead of protecting my turf then God will help us stumble together into the plan God has had for our church for a long, long time.

Keith and Megan represent hundreds of our children who grew up in the middle of bad stuff and yet somehow managed to love God, forgive my generation for its many sins and not resist the call of Jesus to serve the world. Its a miracle.

Its also a second chance for us to obey the call that God has on our community. We are anointed and appointed to offer ourselves as servants to one another and to the world. When we do, God pours grace and creative gifts through us. That astound us as much as it does the ones to whom we minister.

We are well aware that "we have this treasure in earthen vessels" and that the gift comes through us but not from us.

When we realize how all this anointed grace stuff works, we get up off "our blessed assurance," as Keith and Megan puts it, and start walking the Narrow Road!
Even Monday mornings!

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