I would read my devotion at 8am this morning becuase 4am came real early leaving for San Diego. I would get to the airport with ticket in hand, no checked bags and go through security without a problem. I went to find my gate and then saw my plane was canceled! The dreaded interruption of a cancel flight was huge because I did not know how I would make my journey as there are only a few flights. So as I made the long walk back to the ticket counter I ask the Lord to intervene. I needed mercy at this time.
I would arrive at the counter and meet "Maverick" and while I was still silently asking God to intervene, this young man could not be more helpful. I was an interrution and yet he did not treat me as one. I was welcomed over and he went out of his way to put me on another flight. I actual got to San Diego earlier. so while sitting in the airport in Chicago, I read my lenten devotional. The story was of Blind Bartimeius who interrupted Christ seeking mercy on him. Those in the crowd were bothered, yet Jesus was not. I found in the devotional and my experience a real connection on this day.
Christ responds even in those moments of interruptions. So I am sharing with you my encouragement for you to ask your God for what you need. It could be a health concern or a cancelation, God will here your request, even if the crowd surrounding you does not understand.
People of the blog, as I am about to close my musings of this sabbatical journey, I share these three things with you:
Writng and creating a blog post more than once a week can be a challenging task, unless you really are committed to making it happen. There can be so many personal and none personal distractions. For example, the day gets by you and one finds themselves writing at 11am at night. Also those moments when you start, but get an necessary, however unplanned interruption. You must be committed to making the time as it does not stand still.
Then there are the technical glitches when you post pictures from your gallery tablet, but it takes pictures you never selected, go figure. Or the pictures never show up at all! You likewise discover your spell check on your tablet does not catch near the errors as your laptop does. There are no red or green colors saying check me out. Needless to say a few times, more than I want admit, I have had to correct a post after putting it up. Because what you see looks good, yet even then a correction gets missed. So you always have to re-read your own post. And internet speed does matter when posting anything, I have come to find out.
Finally, there is a sensitivity to sharing your post because you are speaking to what has impacted you one way or another. Trying to portray the emotions of the moments or expressions of your heart is always at the center. Yet one knows the writing or the pictures do not always convey the essence of what one wants to put fort, you do so anyway. Why, because there is a real desire to invite you, the reader, along for the ride as best as possible. So as I am about to close my writings on my time of sabbatical, I hope you have gleened some of my experiences through this journey. Till the next time.
"He has told you, O mortal what is good: And what does the lord require of you, but to do justice, and to love kindnes, and to walk humbly with your God"
People of the blog,
Sound Bites Ministry this morning read like this: "When I was young and free and my imagination had no limits, I dreamed of changing the world. As I grew older and wiser I discovered the world would not change, so I shorten my sights somewhat and decided to change only my country. But it too seemed immovable. As I grew into my twilight years, in one last desperate attempt, I settled for changing only my family, those closest to me, but alas they would have none of it. And now as I lie on my deathbed, I suddenly realize: If I had only changed myself first, then by example...."
This really hit home for me this day as I have been spending, expectantly, a lot of time reflecting this week about sabbatical. This time has truly been about an openess to changing myself and hopefully for the individuals who have been on the journey these three months too. I say this because as this deceased Anglican Priest wrote, we must begin as individuals making a change in ourselves. It is after such time the individuals can become a collective in changing the church and maybe the world!
People of the blog, since my last post the work of being re-acclomated with home and Barbara has begun. Catching up on everything means starting the list of projects which have been waiting. I have attached some of the pictures as proof. In between I have made time to take walks with God at different locations, one of which I share with you.
People of the Blog, it is my first full day back home in Rochester and it feels good to be home! I continue to reflect on my sabbatical journey for these next few weeks as I connect with Barbara, our children and my excited return to Webster Baptist Church. As you have probably figured out a long time ago this has been a life changing expreince for me from the very beginning. All along I have felt so blessed in this adventure from the moment the presentation of sabbatical was first made. The word at the very beginmig of which I could not claim throughout this joourney was spoken in my Alban reading this morning, "aspire". Indeed from the very beginning this sabbatical was about reaching for renewal of spirit and mission for me. However to aspire was not to simply dream but to take action.
The article speaks to the dreams, hopes or wishes of most folks in the congregation who attend, but there is no active realization becuase we live only in the place of aspiring. In other words getting out of the box, being open to change, taking a risk or stepping out of ones comfort zones, is difficult. It is much easier to live in aspiring becuase you do not have to change or do anything differently. And yet here we are near the end of our sabbatical and this intentional time apart and I can say for me this has been more than aspiration to me. I have and continue to learn from the many books I have read, asking the question what is God saying to me. I have seen the poverty in St. Louis along with the beauty of the city still asking what should I be doing next. And words cannot decribe the many highs and lows of being in South Africa without asking myself, how and what ways am I to change so my ministerial leadership will meet the needs of today?
Therefore, I challenge myself with God's help to do more than aspire with our neighbors at Wilmorite Park by seeking these neighbors out to check in when I return. I plan to have diologue with our Police Chief, asking what I or we as a church can do to improve relations with the issues betwen citizens and law endorcement so relevent. While I take pride in the many community connections you and I make as a church, what ways might our building be more of a place of outreach or in-reach as sister Bill's might say. My friends a shack church offered space that 250 to 300 hundred children got a meal four days a week! And yes we need to have conversations about race becuase this year more than any other the church needs to be a place of actionable diologue on this issue.
You and I have got to move from simply aspiring to changing for the time and place we are in today. Two of the churches I visited and preached in their houses would like to engage in some form of partnership. So I asked what would this look like and they both said missional exchanges. Yes some of them coming here and some of us going there. This aspiration can be a reality becuase relationships have been formed. So I ask whatever you have been aspiring to happen let's do so in Jesus name as we join our experiences together once again, shortly.
People of the blog, my time at Silver Bay ends tomorrow. This place has been a good location for rest in reflecting at moments about my recent sojourn from South Africa, along with the attending a family reunion and now the process of being home again. This time of sabbatical has been a good start for me to focus on some of the "takeways," yet I know this is just the beginning of my refreshing return. I share some final pieces of this part of the journey.
People of the blog, this was a cool but sunny day in the Adirondacks. So here are some are of my happenings for this Friday.