Monday, October 20, 2003
Reflections on the weekend:
A gathering of emerging church folk from Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Pennsylvania.
Beginning friday evening @ 6:00 and going til Sunday afternoon for me was another great time of Kingdom friendships. The friday night dinner was of a thousand conversations, good food, pipes & cigars on the porch in candlelight, stories being written, hearts feeling not alone, peace and joy was the atmosphere and that was supplied from the presence of Christ. Saturday morning was the highlight for me. It helped me define better why we exist. People came to our gathering hurting. God spoke to me early in the morning while driving down and said, "listen for stories of pain". And then during worship, he instructed me to read from Ezekiel 37 and the valley of dry bones. This seemed to resonate with many. You see, dry bones are not permanent, they are a temporary state in Kingdom economy. We are the carriers of God's breath within us, as we speak and prophesy into others, dry bones come alive. This is what i saw. As we shared some stories of pain, the community surrounded these stories, layed hands on them and prayed the breath of God over and in them. I saw discouraged faces peel away through the tears and watched as hope and joy landed upon these brothers and sisters. The prophetic words spoken seemed to be sharply accurate. What a privelege to live a dream. To live in full community, live in the present reality of the Kingdom, and to draw a sword in the direction of our enemy who is seeking to steal, kill and destroy. This weekend we took another step into the enemy's camp, not because we enjoy the conflict, but because we are people of the Resurrection and where the stench of death is, we are called to bring life and set captives free. I often wonder how to better organize ourselves, how to be more effective, but this seems to be systematic thinking. The organic approach is more like us. So that means that just being faithful friends to one another, celebrating the sacraments, being people of the Scriptures, promoting peace, humbling ourselves before God, building local faith communities that pay attention to their neighborhood and celebrating joy whenever possible.
Henri Nouwen says, "The greatest gift my friendship can give to you is the gift of your Belovedness. I can give that gift only insofar as I have claimed it for myself. Isn't that what friendship is all about: giving to each other the gift of our Belovedness?" Maybe this is all we should shoot for. A network of Kingdom minded Christ followers who live in their belovedness and give away that gift to the greater community around them.
Abba, thank you for this weekend. We are your beloved and we desire to serve. Help us to stop and notice the Kingdom today.