October 31st, 2013
In time our circle of relationship widens. We move from the familiar climes of our first benefactors, our parents, and begin encountering others, whom we find both similar to and distinct from us. And their commonness and uniqueness draw us into a new kind of communion: we play together, fight together, learn what it means to be part of a larger whole.
It’s only a matter of time though before we are launched into that far more expansive region we call “the world.” As we found our first community both forbidding and tantalizing, this new transition only heightens that experience. We step away from the first two moments of our maturing, but we don’t leave them behind. They are forever built into us. We continually appeal to (and often reel from) what we inherited from parent, primary school, and prom. The consummation of that new communion with the world consists in finding a sense of place within it. That is, we fret and flit about until we arrive at some sense of, consciously or unconsciously, why we’re here and what we’re to do with the time we have.
Such is the baseline narrative–to be sure, with innumerable variations–of life.
It is also analogous to the progression God intends for His people as a people. Faithful presence to God, to one another, and to the world are not three phases we pass through; each dimension of communion pushes us in the direction of the other two. But unless our collective gaze turns toward the world in concern for the world, something about our communion with God and one another has become distorted, if not truncated.
So for the last three Sunday’s of our series on a vision for Faithful Presence we’re going to turn our attention to what it means to have a true and faithful presence to our world, both as individuals and as a community As we’ll find this Sunday when we turn to Psalm 72 and Matthew 25:31-40, an abiding interest in expanding the reach of God’s justice, mercy, and compassion necessarily follows from our abiding in God and among God’s people.
And we likely nod our heads at that notion, but how shall we see it come to reality among and through us?
Well one way will be through dedicating part of our Q&A this Sunday to something a bit different. We’ll ask and answer questions about what the morning has brought, but I’d also like to invite a brainstorming session into how CtK might enact the kind of concern our two sermon texts envision (and insist upon). That means I’m asking each of you to plant those texts in the soil of your brain today (Thursday), and then let’s see what shoots of ideas can germinate in three days time. The Session (and future diaconate) of CtK is vested with the responsibility of both turning our attention to the world and nurturing a love for it. But whatever vision CtK’s leadership casts for our community’s presence to the world, I dare say, will be shaped by the discoveries of the whole Body. So consult our sermon texts and then consider the Lord’s call to Israel through the prophet Jeremiah when he said:
But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. (29:7)
Brainstorming invites only ideas, no evaluation. So pray, think, jot, and then come prepared both to share and to hear.
If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.
Community quick hits:
- Our season for nomination of elders continues through this Sunday. (If you’d like background into the process of nominating, training, and electing elders have a look at Chapter 24 of our Book of Church Order.) Nomination forms were distributed last Sunday and will be available again this Sunday. You may also download the form here and email us your nomination. Nominations will close on November 10th and an election will be held at a congregational meeting on December 1st.
- Two bittersweet stories come our way this week: both Joan Wardell and the Lippert family will be relocating elsewhere in November, Joan to Maryland and the Lipperts to Minnesota. Mostly behind the scenes, Joan and the Lipperts have served our community with all diligence which makes their departure all the sadder. Connect with them and pray for them as they prepare to leave.
- Don’t forget our First Sunday Luncheon is this Sunday in house! See the previous announcement for more details.
- We’re looking for a volunteer to host our next Sunday Night Fellowship, November 10th from 6-8p. You provide the place and we’ll do the rest. Email us if you’d be interested in hosting.
- Finally, many of you have asked when the next opportunity arises to become a member of CtK. We’ll host our next Membership Class on January 10-11 (Fri-Sat). The weekend is in some sense like pre-marital counseling: it will help you get a handle on the vows you’ll be taking as you become part of the Bride of Christ. As we explained the last time around, the class does not obligate you to join, but it is prerequisite for membership. After the class, should you elect to stand for membership, you’ll meet with some of our elders for an interview that first and foremost seeks to know you better, to know how Christ became part of your story, and to know how to pray for you. It also will go over the nature of the vows, a summary of our church’s vision, and then give you opportunity to ask questions of any sort. Make a point to block out your calendar for January 10-11 if you’d like to become a member.
And would you pray:
- for Kevin Gladding and his wife, Marisol, as he begins his pastoral internship with CtK; take him out for lunch or coffee and get to know him!
- for Cal Ramage and his team in the Amazon on a medical/dental mercy trip
- for “Thomas,” the friend of Cal’s who’s suffering from esophageal cancer: for both extraordinary healing and a new and extraordinary peace
- for Cathy McAndrew’s mother still hospitalized with chest pains
- for Sheri McMillan’s mother as she recovers from esophageal surgery earlier this week
- for our elder candidates as they near the election date and their prospective commencement of shepherding responsibilities
See you Sunday at 9:30,