This past Sunday, participants of our morning gathering witnessed the baptism of two young men. Their journeys couldn’t have been more different. One young man was born into a solid Christian home, started following Jesus at a young age, and has maintained a faith-based orientation through the years into young-adulthood. The other was born on another continent, into a different religious culture, and didn’t have a chance to hear the name of Jesus until recently - but when he did, he found it compelling! Two unique journeys that brought each to the same baptismal pool, on the same Sunday, celebrated by the same church family, as they publicly declared their personal decision to follow the same Saviour-King: Jesus. Beautiful.
We celebrate the beauty and uniqueness of each and every individual’s journey with Jesus. The narrative thread of each is woven together in community of shared life; which is then woven into the larger tapestry of God’s kingdom work here on earth. The bold and bright God-colours and God-images emerge through a creative dance of life. Beautiful.
We don’t have the power to dictate the context of our journey. We don’t choose the family we are born into and we can’t get away from our past; however, we do make choices everyday of who we are going to be each moment of every day. We make choices to lean away from God’s presence in our lives so that the God-colours and God-images become more obscured. We make choices to lean into God’s presence in our lives so that the God-colours and God-images become apparent to those who see us.
My prayer is that throughout this week the meals shared in our community would be a context for people to build on their own unique journey; that God-colours and God-images would be evident to all at the table.
Lord, you are good and creative and worthy of praise.
Thank you for the world you created, that you declared it good, and that you invite us to participate in forming it.
You are a creative God.
You spoke your visions for the world into being, and we marvel at sights we've seen before a thousand times, as much in awe as we were at first glimpse.
You are a creative God, and you make us in Your image. You have made us creators like you, and in creating we call forth reminders of Your beauty and goodness.
You are a creative God, so delighting in the act of Creation that You gift us with the ability and skill to shape and mould, to craft and refine, to imagine and dream, to experiment and change. Creation continues, as a collaborative union of Holy Spirit and humanity.
You are a creative God who calls us to create and give shape to our corners of the world and develop our gifts that glorify Your being. Be it art or music, math or science, atmospheres or relationships, the naming of animals in a garden or the building of a city becoming the Kingdom of God's redemption, you call us to bring forth what is coming. You invite us to work alongside you.
Lord Jesus, inspire visions within us. Give us eyes to see what could become, and the boldness and courage and the willingness to pursue it. Help us to challenge our thinking, to be open to new ways, to reimagine and discover life to the full in following you. Bless us with opportunities to collaborate with you in creating moments and relationships.
Show us where You are, moment by moment, as we build Your kingdom here.
Words by Stephanie McNab-Scott
Art by David Wierzbicki
In Genesis God told a man named Abram (the man God would later rename “Abraham”) to "go to the land I will show you." And Abram went. He packed up his family, his cattle and sheep, all of his possessions and he went. In those moments, it was less about the destination and more about the act of journeying. God promised there would be a destination, but that destination wasn’t clear at the beginning.
Hebrews 11:8 explains that it was “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.”
The nature of the journey took on a substance marked by faith, obedience and action – even though Abe didn’t have perfect clarity on the final destination.
When talking about organizational vision – like we are for our church community - some expect a clear and articulate plan that illustrates what the destination will look like. In answering the “where are we headed?” question, the expected answer is, “There!” And a plan can be developed to move from here to the specific point over there.
A problem arises when no one actually knows if the devised plan will get us to the desired destination – or even if the destination that was desired in the past is still the best one to be aiming for.
As we move forward as a church community we truly desire to dream and plan in such a way that the combined activity of our community, our ministry service, and our outpouring of love all comes together to honour God - while providing space for people to grow and develop as followers of Jesus.
In Vision2016 we begin with a horizon in view rather than a specific point. We are not talking about going from “here” to “there” but orienting our community in a certain direction – a direction towards Jesus and the in-breaking kingdom of God.
We have not developed a vision answering the question “Where are we headed?” Instead, we have focused on “What are we hoping for?” We are looking for the substance of the journey rather than a focused destination. And we are trusting – just like Abe – that God’s got our destination in hand. Our responsibility is to focus on the journey.
With this in mind, Vision2016 articulates three core values that serve as compass points to lead us forward toward our desired horizon: justice, beauty and relationship. These values remain in view and in play as we rally behind our identity statement: “Living stories of Love, as we follow the One who is love” (1 John 4:16). This journey together will be the experienced reality of a community seeking to live faithfully in step with where Jesus leads us. The exciting thing about this is that each community member influences our experienced reality – our daily destination – through her or his own story of love being woven into the larger community.
Over the next four weeks we are going to be unpacking Vision2016 during our Sunday morning gatherings. The first three weeks will look at our values, the fourth week will highlight our identity statement:
September 11th: Justice
September 18th: Beauty
September 25th: Relationship
October 2nd: Living Stories of Love
We invite you to join with us as we dream. We invite you to join us as we journey.
When Jon hit the mirror, and broke it, he said that the broken mirror was us and sin - we were no longer perfect, no longer were we in perfect harmony with God. Despite this separation, and this brokenness, we are still made in His image (Genesis 1:27), we are still His image-bearers and His reflections on this earth.
As I thought about how to use the mirror in a way that reflects this separation/reflection I was struck wth a sense of inadequacy....then I thought about what else makes me feel this way. The universe, the galaxies, stars, planets - the sheer vastness and endlessness of it all. The God who created this universe, the one who spoke stars (bigger than a million of our suns) into being, breathed life into each of us - we are his "very good" creation, the only part of creation created in His image - we each reflect different aspects of God, we each bear His image for the world to see, we each circle around God (who is our centre). As we gather, we together, reflect a more holistic image of our God and creator.