Earlier this month I boarded a plane in return to Austin from an orientation session for District Superintendents that was held in North Carolina. I had just settled into my window seat on the airplane and pulled out my iPad to polish a sermon that I was preparing for the coming Sunday, when a nice young couple sat next to me and spoke very cordially. As soon as they settled in, the young man who was sitting in the aisle seat leaned over his spouse who was sitting in the middle and said, “hey, you’re working on a sermon aren’t you?” I was startled and wondered how he could see the small characters on my iPad from a seat over. I then became intrigued and replied, “yes, you are correct, but how did you know?” He said he grew up as a preacher’s kid and recognized the flow and the rhythm of my work.
As I have begun to meet pastors and leaders in the Capital District and learn about their roles, projects, and ministries, I have been able to recognize a flow and rhythm to their work beyond the ordinary pastoral tasks of sermons, pastoral care, and administrative leadership which they do so well. The flow and rhythm that I am observing is a passion and determination in them to serve among those to whom they are assigned with devotion and passion even in the face of the serious challenges confronting the church today. This devotion and passion, that obviously permeates from a deep faithfulness to call from within, seems to keep them grounded in ministry, yet striding forward to great extents sometimes to meet the vital needs of those whom they serve with optimism, creativity, and resourcefulness.
It feels as though I am observing in these leaders an example of what Margaret Wheatley said in her book, “Who Do We Choose To Be,” when she writes, “Focus on serving others. … No matter what is going on around us, we can attend to the people in front of us, to the issues confronting us and there, we offer what we can. We can offer insight and compassion. We can be present. We can stay and not flee.”
This flow and rhythm that I am learning about reminds me of a great determination of an incarnate Christ, challenged, but unwavering in a willingness to go to great extents, even the cross, to share God’s love with all.
What I am seeing gives me hope for our Christian witness in the world today. I pray for God’s blessing on these devoted servants of God.
Grace and Peace,