The pastoral life is incarnate. It requires voice, body, and conversation. It also requires imagination, vision, and hopefulness. These are only some of the ingredients that make the pastoral life both possible and complex.
One of the ingredients for a fruitful pastoral life is rootedness in a community. In order for the pastoral life to become fruitful it must in some way shine a light on what God is up to in a particular place at a particular time. It requires an understanding of the body politic, of the joint identity and culture of God’s people called the church. This need for rootedness is the biggest challenge for those of us called to pastoral life in an itinerant system.
I am thankful for the ways that I’ve been able to begin rooting in this new place. There are still boxes to be unpacked, conversations to be had, and a city and culture to be learned, yet I’ve been able to look across this community called Grace and sense a shared Spirit and a shared hope for God’s future through us.
It has been an amazing six weeks since we began to “tell the story story again.” We have journeyed from the beginning of time to a turning point in the making of a people. We have not held back but instead have faced the realities of what it means to be human and the steadfastness of God in the midst of our failures, struggles, and rebellion.
I hope that you have found yourselves knowing that you are a people. A people marked, chosen, and sealed. Marked by the story of our faith, by the rhythms of the human condition and God’s call to new life, to our restoration and the restoration of all of creation. Chosen to be proclaimers of good news should empower us to be bold and to engage in the beautiful process of salvation. The Holy Spirit has sealed us at our baptism and it is that seal that allows us to deepen our relationship to God and neighbor.
It is my prayer that this new beginning has helped us begin a conversation. Conversations take time, effort, and attention. We must find ways to hear each other and to discern the places where God is purposely speaking, calling, and paving a way for God’s future. As we have worshiped together it has become abundantly clear that the Spirit of God is doing a converting work among us.
Conversion is about change, a change of heart and life. In order for us to change we must be mindful of the movement of the Spirit among us, it is in that movement that we will find an initial pathway to our continued conversion, to our promised future.
There are three movements that will help us live into God’s future: a commitment to discipleship & discipling, a commitment to the practice of discernment, & a commitment to fruitfulness.
This week I’ll be sharing about each of these movements and what they might mean for our life together. I look forward to the conversation!