Friday, October 16, 2015
When I served the church as a mission developer, forming a new congregation of the ELCA in Northeastern Ohio, we learned to listen closely to those who were seeking a new connection to the church. They helped us think about things we took for granted in a new light. Early on our attention was given over to matters of identity, mission and character. With little history behind us, it was exciting to plan for the future and try new things. We quickly learned that the resources of our faith were enough to be the church together in mission.
At times it may have seemed that little was happening but we could still feel the immediacy of the Spirit at work through the simple gifts of worship and welcome. In a high school cafeteria, we made the best of our environment and even found joy in the shared labors that made our gatherings possible. We could see community take shape before our eyes even if it moved slowly. Overtime we came to learn the unfolding, dynamic and surprising gift that it was.
Years later, now in this place called Faith, I am still learning about how the gospel comes alive in the people who gather to worship and serve. I am still learning how the Spirit often works in quiet and undramatic ways. With eyes of faith, we see the many ways we serve through the many gifts among us for the sake of the needs around us.
We have listened to the Gospel of Mark these past weeks in worship and have noticed that the disciples heard the words of Jesus, together as a community of followers. And while it seemed that they mostly struggled to understand, Jesus remained steadfast in his love for them. It was especially hard for them to grasp the call to follow in servant like ways. But overtime both in the presence of Jesus and in his actions the disciples could see the new and promising thing happening for the world.
Sovereign God, you turn your greatness into goodness for all the peoples on earth. Shape us into willing servants of your kingdom, and make us desire always and only your will, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. – ELW, page 50