A Pastoral Word
I was thinking the other day about how much Midway Christian Church has accomplished in three years. We have struggled with our calling as God’s people and discerned that God was calling us to be a welcoming community of faith in all that we do. We continue to live out our faith in authentic ways and we are always open to where God may call us in the future.
As my thoughts were circling around how much Midway Christian Church has accomplished, I have to admit that I was also thinking about how much we need to accomplish to live out this vision and mission of WELCOME that God has laid upon our hearts. We continue to struggle to develop a new church structure that will free us up to do God’s ministry. We have an outline in place and we have committed ourselves to a six month trial period, but a lot of unknowns. And one of my biggest frustrations is that I don’t have any answers to your questions. I have to admit that I don’t like giving the answer: “I don’t know” when someone asks about the new structure. It is completely frustrating for me because I am a type A personality. I like to know all the details. I like to know how we are going to get there. I like having a back up plan. And I have to admit that I am in totally new territory as we live out this new structure during our six month trial basis.
So it is interesting that I found myself, being urged by something, maybe the Holy Spirit, to go back and listen again to the Exodus story, to re-read a newsletter article that I did when we first started this process, and to hear once again God’s word for us as a congregation.
“For the last few months, the journey that Moses took as a leader has been laying heavy on my heart and has given me strength for the upcoming journey of transformation that awaits our church family. The part of the story that has become part of my prayer life is that moment right after they crossed the Red Sea. Before that moment, all the people of Israel could think of was death and destruction. They just knew that the Pharaoh’s army would capture them and send them back to slavery or worse, kill them. In that moment, death seemed to loom large for the Israelite people. And then a miracle happened. Moses parted the Red Sea under the guiding arm of God...There was joy and happiness after crossing the Red Sea for the Israelite people but there were also questions. Where was Moses leading them? Where would their next meal come from? Who was in charge? Did anyone know what was going on? Everything was new and everything was in limbo.
For the next forty years, Moses, along with other leaders, figured out how to be the Israelite people. They came up with structures for worship. They developed laws that would guide their lives. They came up with structures that would eventually define who they were as a nation. It took them forty years but they figured it out.
It is this moment that resonates with me at this point in our faith journey together. It think this is where we are right now as a church. We have crossed the Red Sea and now have to go about the business of figuring out how to be the Church in today’s society. We as a church have been given and have embraced a vision and mission that was laid upon our hearts by God. And now we have to figure out how we are going to live out that mission and vision….
We must remember that Israel didn’t reach the Promised Land quickly. It took them forty years of wondering before they made it. And I am sure that on their journey, they did a lot of self-reflection, a lot of learning about who they were, and who they wanted to be as God’s people. We must also remember that they had some rocky points along the journey.
We must also remember that God was there to guide them as a cloud by day and as a pillar of fire by night. God provided food from heaven each morning and meat each night. God watched over them on their journey. God provided for them on their journey. And God lead them to the Promised Land.”
These are words that I needed to hear again. God is guiding us even now. God is walking with us as we struggle to live out this new structure. God is providing us with opportunities to “tweak” this structure as we go along. God is there pushing us, guiding us, leading us, and help us discern how this new structure will and can free us up to do the ministry of God’s Kingdom.