Dunedin, New Zealand, my city - my people

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sunday night blues again...

I have been sitting watching inane "current affairs" programs then started watching a stupid film on TV. (Elections are great fodder for superficial journalism aren't they?) At the same time I have been feeling down about this ministry job. I had most of the week off to build with my daughter and decided on Thursday night that today's worship subject should be "Hope". Now maybe I did not do the preparation required but I got that "duh" type feedback from the congregation. I have been developing the blues about it again as I have blobbed out this afternoon and evening. I have decided that worship is not the place where you really learn about "hope". Mission is the place where you learn. I have come to the conclusion that this is where you learn and until Church goers get off their backsides and get involved in caring mission many of the essential truths of the Christian faith remain incomprehensible, religious jargon to them. As I look back on my journey it has been when I have been involved in seeking to live out the purposes of God, and up against it, that things like faith, hope and partnership with the "Spirit" etc become real. "Hope" emerges in one's inner being because you have stretched your abilities, your courage and perseverance.

Jesus chose disciples and did not tell them to come and listen to him preaching. He did not invite them to theology classes. He essentially invited them to join him as he shared the love of God in his community. In the process of that apprenticeship they grew. As I look back on ministry the people I have seen grow the most have been the ones who have not just sat in the pew on Sunday, but tried to reach out in some way in love... then they have grown into giants as people of faith. Mostly on Sundays these days I feel like I am "casting pearls before swine". That sounds harsh on the lovely people in my congregation. It is, however, the feeling I get when I keep trying to share in creative ways truths that I have learned through risky, often challenging journeying with God, with people who have never stepped out and therefore don't have a ghost of an idea what I am talking about. To use another metaphor, people who are not willing to get up and dance don't experience the power of the music. Trying to describe it to them has little impact. No matter how creative or clever I am, it will only entertain them for an hour on Sunday. Oh well... that's off my chest. (Photo: Curly Griffiths... a man I have seen grow incredibly because he has got himself involved in loving mission with people.)

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