Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Mysterious God

The Mysterious God?
You know the old saying; God works in mysterious ways. As I continue to walk my journey in faith, I am beginning to believe and understand the falsehood of that statement. God is not as mysterious as we would like to think, rather the opposite holds more truth for me these days. God is obvious, what is mysterious is our reaction to God’s active presence in our lives. It seems easier that way, to explain or rationalize why things either happen or don’t when we do not take responsibility or participate in world events and world affairs. God does what is right, always has and always will. It is our responsibility to either believe and follow or oppose and let someone (if anyone) else do the work.
I believe people fear the responsibility that is entrusted on us when we accept the obvious and rightness of that which God offers to the world. So, we prefer to close our eyes to the reality and thereby create a false reality, our reality (not God’s). Where is the mystery in the dawn of a new day? Where is the mystery in having family and friends? And where is the mystery in food and sustenance for our bodies? God has provided all of these and freely gives them to all.
Surely, there are those who will say, look at the disasters of the world, the death and destruction surrounding many, the famine and starving peoples of the world. Although these things exist, it would be inaccurate to draw conclusion that they are the result of God’s desire for His creation. Certainly, these things exist and occur each and every day. The mystery is not in the why or how they have come to be, but in the what. The, what becomes of them once they are disclosed and we know the reality of their existence is then the question. We need to focus, not on the why of God ways, but on His expectations for our actions and on what are we doing to improve, prevent and change the course of events. We are created in the likeness of God and it is by that very essence that we, armed with the awareness of God within us, can solve the mystery. We then can look to dissolve the barriers that keep us from our calling and illuminate the opportunity for all to demonstrate the true nature of God and come to accept our role in the world.
When we take that one last look at events and issues, we know in our hearts what is right and what is wrong. We know that deep within us is an urge and an understanding of when, how and why we should act. Unfortunately, we more often take the less complicated, less frightening, less accountable and finally the less demanding of paths. Even when we choose to the right thing, often we choose to jump in only up to our ankles and not submerge ourselves and commit to total resolution. In short, we hold back. We may freely give or ourselves, but what we give, often is only a portion of our total capabilities.
What would the world look like if we all contributed to the extent of our abilities? The full use our unique talents and gifts in support of others could have a very dramatic impact not only in the lives of others, but just as important, on our relationship with our creator, the Living God. If you will, image the inventor of the world’s most powerful engine only then to install it in a vehicle whose purpose is to transport a person to and from church on Sunday mornings. All that potential but never given the opportunity to used for the purpose of it’s design. Such it is with us. We were created in the likeness of God, to be in relationship with Him, to serve His purposes, to care for His creation and to build His church on earth.
There is no mystery to it. God created us for a purpose. He created the world for a purpose. As for the mystery surrounding the question of why, we only need to look at our neighbors to recognize the obviousness of God’s creation. We were not created to be a solitary people. We are design to interact and to support one another. No one person has the gifts, talent and ability to thrive without the support of others. By our design we need others in order to grow and live with contentment. The only mystery is then, when will we discover what God has already fashioned in us and when will we release the power of His Spirit and build the Body of Christ. Amen.

Fuel the Fire

Fuel for the Fire
As I look out on to the sea of opportunity and hope, I see with increasing clarity a growing need to find the fuel that feeds the fire of our ministry within the Church. Years, if not decades of effort to relocate the physical framework of our ministry have taken it’s toll and drained the church body of the essential energy that makes ministry work possible. For years our leadership has been focused on financial and facility related issues as our top priorities if not our only priorities. On the surface, this attention to the tangible world of building and finance seem appropriate, but upon further inspection, it becomes evident that disproportionate attention is harmful to fulfilling our mission as a Church of Christ.
Within the membership of our congregation we are blessed to have many individuals and several groups whose ministry keep our hope and faith alive. The problem and the potential solution for our financial woes rest in our attention to ministry. The value, time and effort of these groups and individuals bring stability, care and growth opportunities for the church. These actions are rarely recognized and affirmed among the congregation and demonstrated through the leadership of all members.
An unscientific survey conducted with several members recently, gave indication that one of the most significant values that we bring as a congregation to our community of faith is LOVE. Love, demonstrated for our genuine care for each other is our strength and it is our single largest opportunity. Unfortunately, the awareness of our love for each other stands in the shadow of discussions over finance, facility and sound issues. Because of this, our priorities and focus are on our weakness rather than on our strength. We have been blessed with the ability to truly support, care and love one another and I suggest that as a congregation we commit to using God’s creation and our God given talents to the best of our abilities. We need to lead and demonstrate to our members, neighbors, visitor and community at large that we care deeply for their faith formation and the development of their relationship with our Lord and Savior. We can not change the future nor can we change lives of others, but we are placed here to create the opportunity to learn from one another, support each other and affirm the future that is given to all through the gift of God’s grace.
Grace is the fuel that feeds our ministry and our service in God’s creation. How do we tap into this life sustaining source of energy? The answer is, focus and attention to spiritual development and discipleship. Pursuit of finding God’s active presence in all that we do and seek the purpose for which we as individuals have been created, should be our priority. As we align our talents and activities around the pursuit and understanding of our spiritual calling, we will see that our future is secure and in the best hands possible, God’s.