Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Out of our Depth?

As pastors we will personally struggle with this, "I constantly feel that I am out of my depth," my pastor friend said. "Me too," I said. We both stared quietly into the distance for a moment. Then a few questions occurred to us. Why do we lament the fact that we do not know everything? Why do we speak of being out of our depth with sadness and heavy sighing, as if we are failing something we were supposed to attain? "It is as if we are supposed to repent for having limits with our knowledge," I said. "Who has taught us this?" he wondered. "Where does this expectation to know it all come from?" he asked. We paused and then laughed with shared embarrassment. We concluded that if we were to say to God, Father, I constantly feel out of my depth," God would gently ask, "And why is that a problem?"
from Zack Eswine, Sensing Jesus: Life and Ministry as a Human Being, (Illinois: Crossway), 2013, p 36

Monday, June 03, 2013

Out of the Shadows

We celebrate the God of light, who is the source of all warmth, direction and hope
We have been embraced in Your love, restored in Your grace, and welcomed into the fellowship of Your people.
You are the One in whom there is no shadow of turning;
Who walks with us through moments of uncertainty, aiding our steps, and reassuring us of Your promise.

But we ourselves are people of shadows:
Knowing our own light and darkness, comfortable with aspects of our identity, but uncertain of our shadows.
We would rather celebrate our strengths, and rejoice in our accomplishments.
Yet we hold these treasures in jars of clay: imperfect, yet shaped perfectly to let the grace of God shine through

Through the death of Jesus, You brought life to us all.
Through the tragedy of rejection, You birthed a new community.
As we carry the death of Christ in us, so let His life be revealed in us.
Teach us not to be afraid of the shadows, but to search for you there.
In the darkness and uncertainty, let Your life be born, let your hope grow, and let our character be formed further into the image of Jesus.

God of light, warmth and hope, your presence stands in stark contrast to the darkness and coldness of despair;
Attune our senses towards the traces of Your presence, that the shadows we fear might be shown to highlight the beauty of Your presence.
As we walk through the valley of the shadow, teach us not to fear
Help us to embrace the journey as one on the way to green pastures which are richer than we can imagine, for they have been especially prepared for us in the name of Jesus.