“To be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”
This quote from Nelson Mandela, who died last week, has revolved in my mind as we plan for a new year at Mustard Seed Associates. Central to our organization is the desire, not just to cast off our own chains, but to see all of God’s creatures freed and made whole. There is a growing longing in all our hearts to inspire and connect those who want to make a difference in our world; providing resources to equip others to create new models for life and faith for the future is our growing passion.
One of the remarkable things about Nelson Mandela is that he emerged after 28 years in prison, not with bitterness but with purpose. It was that purpose and that longing for freedom for all the peoples of South Africa that drove his life. Mandela’s words and life example inspire me to believe that we too can make a difference and work to bring glimpses of the freedom, wholeness, and shalom of God’s new world into being. To become the people God intends us to be, to see the world God intends emerge, we too need purpose and the desire to see God’s wholeness emerge in our world.
Making God’s Purposes Our Purposes
As I shared in our last MSA Imaginings, 2013 has given birth to new and exciting avenues for us to equip those who want to make God’s purposes more central to their own purposes. New retreats designed to guide us on our journey into wholeness and new Advent podcasts and reflections encouraging us to take our call to God’s purposes more seriously are small steps in this direction. Andy Wade’s work with the homeless in Hood River, Tom’s mentoring of local Christian leaders, and my own recent appointment to the Food and Faith Initiative here in Seattle are other examples of how we seek to live this out in our lives.
This longing for wholeness and freedom, and the desire to be God’s instruments in attaining it, are reflected in the rich and varied contributions from around the world to our Advent series Coming Home: Uncovering Our Roots in the Advent Story. The Advent video, wonderful podcasts produced by Ryan Marsh and the daily reflections that explore some of these themes are being widely shared across Facebook and Twitter and by networks like Evangelicals for Social Action, Parish Collective and Missio Alliance. Many of us long to come home to God’s world and want to strive with every breath to bring freedom, abundance and wholeness to all creation.
Begin the Year Right
This next year will provide many new opportunities to equip ourselves as God’s instruments of freedom and wholeness. We plan to hold several workshops and retreat days here at the Mustard Seed House in Seattle. Each of these is a stand alone opportunity for enrichment and equipping but together will provide an integrated year-long program in sustainable living and sustainable faith. Also by the end of 2014 we should have these available as online retreat processes to enable our associates around Lthe world to journey with us.
Our first workshop at the Mustard Seed House will be held January 11, 2014: Creating Your Best Life for 2014. Tom Sine will challenge participants to develop a sense of calling for the year and encourage them to create a one year plan that integrates spiritual growth and creative new possibilities for their lives.
Create Your Best Life Throughout the Year
To create our best life for the entire year we need discipline and regular renewal. On March 1st I will facilitate our pre-Lent retreat, Return to Our Senses in Lent, and on November 15th, just before Advent, Return to Our Senses in Advent. Like the retreats that Tom and I take several times a year, these days are designed to help all of us keep our lives focused on God’s purposes and not allow the secular culture to distract us. Without this type of intentionality we will never become the people God intends us to be.
Our integrated series on sustainable faith and sustainable life also includes:
- To Garden with God, a full-day workshop on April 12th Co-led by Christine Sine and Andy Wade, and
- Justice At the Table, a full-day workshop on September 27th led by Andy Wade
We hope you will also save the date for our annual Celtic retreat, August 8-10 on Camano Island too. Come be inspired, and renewed and create new possibilities for your life.
New Resources for Your Best Life
We also intend to produce two new seasonal resources in 2014 to guide our journey. The first of these, “A Journey Into Wholeness: Soul Travel From Lent to Easter”, will be available in January. It is based on our popular Lenten guide and is in response to the many requests we have had for daily reflections to guide us through the season of Lent and Easter. The second publication, “Coming Home: Uncovering Our Roots in the Advent Story”, will flow out of the motivational reflections posted on Godspace during Advent in the last couple of years.
These developments make us aware of how important construction on the Mustard Seed Village is. We long for the completion of this facility that will provide a home for a centre of imagination and creativity. We look forward to the day when we can gather larger groups for inspiration and creativity.
Will you help us equip others to become all that God intends them to be?
Your year end gift will enable us to:
- develop new resources that can inspire and equip Christian leaders into the future
- complete our first building at the Mustard Seed Village and provide a place for all of us to gather for inspiration and creativity.
Would you consider:
- A monthly gift of $10, $20, $50 or $100 for the next 12 months to help us develop new resources and online retreat processes that stir our imaginations and encourage creativity?
- An end of year gift of $100, $250, $500 or $1,000 to help us grow the mustard seeds that make a difference in God’s world?
Thank you for being a part of Mustard Seed Associates
God bless you as we celebrate the joy of this season and prepare to celebrate the coming of our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Executive Director MSA