March 18, 2011

foolish vigor

While I might be young, I'm also a bit daring. I have found myself in recent events at the front of the room instead of the back. Maybe it is my naiveity, but even standing at the front or on a committee, I wonder where the hope has gone. I wonder where the risk has gone. This isn't even a commentary on my denomination, the United Methodists... I have had many ecumenical conversations recently and I am sideswiped by "we can't do that, or get away with that" comments.

It sometimes feels like the church has lost its foolish vigor.  We have neglected St. Paul's call to forget the ways of the world, forget success by earthly standards, and to just take a chance and stand with the cross.  We have neglected the call to take up our cross and to follow Jesus - because we are scared of where the cross takes us. It isn't just fear, or temptation to suceed, sometimes it is just down right laziness and the tedium of daily tasks that keep us from diving in.

I think I'm able to keep going, because in the midst of all of the "safe" choices and the call to "increase numbers" and the forms I have to fill out... I hear about a few folks are taking risks.

A local presbyterian church held a Christmas Eve service this year at a bar in town. They took the risk and were invited back for next year. It wasn't a success numerically - but they were out there, in the world, and if even one person thought in a different way, they were successful.

A group of young pastors gathered in Washington, D.C. for an event I attended.  We gathered in the chapel at the capital building and prayed and sang.  We have found some courage from one another to try new things, to apply for grants, to start programs and to ask questions.  We are putting ourselves out there - and we do so knowing that there is a small community of support to help us.

Congregations in Cedar Rapids are responding to the changing communities around them and are throwing open their doors for native African congregations to meet in their midst. 

The churches who have joined mine for the Co-Missioned transformation process are all taking risks and trying to pay attention to what the Holy Spirit is calling us to be and do.  We have had to let go of some things in order to embrace this time of listening and waiting.  It is hard, and it is scary to let go of what we think works for us.  But every time we do so, we have been blessed by God's movement.

I want us to be more foolish. To be more daring. And to trust where the Spirit calls us. Don't be afraid to step out there.  Don't let your head tell you "no" when your heart is screaming "yes." Don't get caught up in this world's definitions of success - numbers and money and power... just go where God tells you, wipe the dust off your feet if people don't respond, and then go to the next place.  Don't be afraid of failure.  Don't worry about looking stupid.  Take up your cross, with foolish vigor, and follow.

1 comment:

  1. Nice post, Katie!

    I especially love the last paragraph. Well said!

    What would our world look like, particularly in the UMC, if we lived by that call!