Summary: To be a slave of Jesus Christ means He is the Lord of your life in everything leaving little room for individualistic ideas of ourselves.
So this past Wednesday night, around 9 when everyone had left except for Garret and Sue and I, we sat back, looked at these pieces of flip chart, took a deep breath, smiled, and said, “ok… so what next?”
One thing was clear immediately – Pastor Sue looked at them and said “I’m seeing a liturgy coming out of these themes, I’d like to write that for Sunday.” We smiled again, agreed that we could and should shape our corporate worship service for Sunday morning out of our experiment on Wednesday night, and as we worked on that the remainder of the week we saw a need to make a few adjustments. We have just finished a time of worship together which concentrates on God, because that is where it must all start, continue, and finish. Sue chose songs that call us to remember and celebrate who God is and all God has done for us. We responded with an offering, and now I’m going to lead us in announcements and prayer and sermon-type reflection on Scripture all together as one block here, because they all tie together, but we won’t be done then. As I finish, Sue is going to continue with the liturgy and the imagery that comes out of the last verse in our Scripture passage which also came through very clearly and strongly Wednesday evening as God spoke. We figure by then it will be about 10:45, when our service is scheduled to end, but we knew from God that we weren’t going to done – so we are going to break for coffee, and I hope you will return at 11:15 and we’ll do the next step together here in the sanctuary which is both the completing of what God called us to do in worship and the beginning of our “adult ed” time, the themes of which were so perfectly aligned that, had we done it intentionally, would be absolutely brilliant – but since it was God who lined them up we’ll just respond in humble gratitude and hopefully increased attentiveness to what He is saying.
So there is the “road-map” for the rest of our morning.
“Announcements” are really a time of sharing the things going on in our community, the details and specifics of where we sense God leading and calling. We have lots of those: worship team training dates are in the bulletin, youth ministry has started up and those details are in the bulletin, several Bible study groups are starting and/or re-starting, and a bunch of seminars and retreats and conferences that we think might be worthwhile are coming up. Note also our Congregational Life Meeting on Oct 13th, which is a Wednesday night, supper at 5:30 and meeting in the sanctuary here at 7pm. Have I missed any?
Now what about this Wednesday night thing? Well we launched this past week. We were greeted at the door by the aroma of roasting chicken, garlic and rosemary, and followed our noses to the lower hall. Everyone pitched in – grabbing some chairs, cooking broccoli (perfectly, thanks Norma!), washing pots (thanks Cathie!), and greeting each other. We ate, visited, and for the rest of the week I discovered a side-benefit of a mid-week meal: leftovers for lunch!! and then Garret and Randy led us in preparing to go out and pray through our community, asking God what He sees, what God is doing, and what He might be calling us to. We fanned out into the neighbourhood for a little more than an hour, prayerfully looking and listening, and then returned to share and begin to prayerfully discern what we think God might be saying. One of our group walked into Tim Hortons and announced to everyone, “Ok, I’m here on a prayer walk, how can I pray for you?” (She knew most everyone there, but it remains a perfect example of our desire to get out our doors and engage our world as representatives of Jesus). The stories were powerful, tears flowed, and some pieces started to come together. We are going to talk about some of those more in a moment… God was smack in the middle of it, leading, calling, guiding, breaking our hearts and encouraging us.
So what’s up this week? This coming Wednesday we will eat together at 5:30 (I’m thinking of ham with pineapple/ginger sauce), and get out of our doors. We need to continue the process of discernment and of listening which we began last week, but now we can focus it a little more on a couple of locations. Several of our group felt God’s leading around the Whitehall Square area, both in that massive rental community and the residential community to the north (Jasper Park, Sherwood), so we are going to narrow our prayer focus to that section and try to listen for God’s leading, start to discover the needs that might be there, and start to imagine what ministries God might be leading us towards. The opportunities will be a little more focused – you will be free to prayer walk again, to conduct brief interviews with people who might be around, to again just open our eyes and look around, and to dream together about ministries God might be desiring. We will all go together, there is a beautiful park for kids at Lynwood community center, we’ll have a picnic-style dessert there, and we’ll see what God has to say…