Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Back in action (2)

 I am not underestimating that joining one of these peer learning groups is tough. It's not just that pastors have to pay (!) and commit to a demanding two year program of reading and meeting together but they have to be open to God reshaping their ministry in a personal, spiritual, collaborative framework that really makes a difference in their churches. Really! It is this willingness to be vulnerable - to unlearn some ingrained habits and embrace new ones within a group of peers (all open to God's new thing) - that asks so much of participants.

In the preparation session I used a quote that hit me between the eyes two weeks ago!  Something that rings true in deep places.  The image of journey is commonly used to describe our traveling through life from childhood to old age.  It's well applied to the Christian faith too as we move on (hopefully) from first commitment to greater maturity. Traveling is how life works. What struck me as I read some words from Meister Eckhart, who was a 14th century German mystic, was the complementary truth that there is no stopping on the Christian way.   Just ponder these words:
There is no stopping place in this life.  No, nor was there ever one for anyone – no matter how far along the way they’ve come. Then, above all things: be ready for the gifts of God and always for new ones.

This sounds rather activist but that is the last thing that Eckhart calls us to. Rather he invites us to move on ready for anything that God gifts us with. As the verse of the contemporary song Blessed Be Your Name sounds out:
                     You give and take away
                     You give and take away
                     My heart will choose to say
                     Lord, blessed be your name  


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