Those of you who have been following my posts this week know that there has been quite a bit of diversity – some reflections on our time here at Tabor, some looking forward to the end of the month and our celebration of All Saints and Halloween, some sharing the resources that I have come across. I thought today that I would try to pull together some of my thoughts and the rich input that this week has provided for me.
Yesterday we had the privilege of being involved in a wonderful worship time here at Tabor coordinated by some of the younger students. It was a very experiential time with stations set up around the chapel – everything from opportunities to light candles as prayers for friends and issues we are concerned about to the privilege of having our hands washed and massaged as a sign of the cleansing power of Christ. There were also opportunities to draw pictures that came out of our inner struggles and hurts and to interact with God’s good creation by going out into the garden with sheets of paper to do rubbings of leaves. In the courtyard someone had written Following Jesus in large chalk letters that we were invited to add to with our own thoughts about what it meant to follow Jesus.
In our class we are talking about taking our imaginations seriously and developing new models of life, faith and community that reflect something of God’s new world of freedom, justice and abundance which is constantly breaking into ours. The possibilities of using our imagination to interact with the gospel story are boundless and we can make a difference if we take the story of God seriously and make it the inventive catalyst for our lives. This worship service was a graphic example of what is possible when we stir our imaginations in this way but we do need to move our imaginations outside our worship box and into the world around us.
Interestingly I was reading an article this morning that talked about the fact that change does not usually start with leaders and government officials but it begins with the imagination of ordinary people who believe that they can make a difference in the world. Those we call leaders are really followers in places that matter.
The common thread in all my reflections this week is my continuing attempt to grapple with how we reinterpret all parts of our life as opportunities to both experience the God revealed in Jesus and to be representatives of this God. I am continually amazed at how many parts of my life are totally disconnected from my faith and how difficult it is to integrate these into my understanding of the gospel story.
Part of what the week has provided for me – in spite of its busyness – is a quiet place of solitude and reflection. As I have prepared for the Rhythms of Grace workshop I have again reflected a lot on what it means to have a Godly rhythm to my life. I thought that I would finish with a couple of quotes I have come across that have really helped these reflections and my growing understanding of both our need for a Godly rhythm and the challenges attaining it.
The first refers to the rhythm of life that wove through the early church
Though this rhythm borrowed heavily from Judaism, it was clearly adapted to the new reality of Jesus Christ. History & practices of Judaism receded into the background; the incarnation, death & resurrection of Jesus became the center piece” (Gerald Sittser Water from a Deep Well)
The second refers to our disconnection from the natural world – obviously something that I am very concerned about
When we become strangers to the earth we have lost more than our roots; we have lost touch with the rhythm of life. Where life once was seasonal and secure it is now episodic & erratic. We live after the fall… unblessed on earth and unconnected to heaven. (Ray Anderson)
The third refers to my growing recognition of the need for solitude as part of the rhythms of life for all of us
Solitude is not withdrawal in order to get away. It is withdrawal in order to be with someone who is normally crowded out of our lives. (Charles Ringma)
And the last refers to my growing recognition of the need to incorporate fasting as well as feasting in our rhythms
Reserving for special events food we might easily afford, but that are luxury items in the world economy unites us with those who have less. (Joetta Handrich Schlabach)