Thursday, October 23, 2008

sharing the gospel

Yesterday I spoke in the morning to a wonderful group of Friends' (Quaker) pastors from North Carolina and Virginia. They were interested in the Five Practices (see link to the right), and it was fun to help them in the application of the practices to their contexts. I had relationships with a couple of them, having served a parish in Yadkin County, which is one-third Baptist, one-third United Methodist and one-third Quaker (my roughly assessed demographic). Earlier in the week, on Monday, I had spoken to a group of the first year pastors in our annual conference on the topic of stewardship. I always enjoy connecting with men and women at this stage; they are either eager to learn something that will help in a new and sometimes bewildering environment, or they are trying to transfer learnings from some other profession to ministry, or they are isolated, or they are overwhelmed. The simple fact of their coming together is helpful, I think.

The next day, on Tuesday, I officiated a the memorial service of a good friend, Pat, who had been in two classes that I had taught over the years (one was Disciple IV, the other Companions in Christ). Pat was a hospitable woman, very bright, with a transparent piety; she was stream of consciousness in conversation (always a challenge for a group leader), but nevertheless a real joy. I commented in the service that Pat had been supportive of every pastor who had served at Providence, and this was true, and this also was a real gift. Last evening, a friend and I led a conversation about "Faith and The Presidential Election". It went well, but was somewhat tense; I think people have internalized the divisions that are with us, politically, as a country. My friend Robb shared comments by Jim Wallis in the latest Sojourners, and I reflected on Adam Hamilton's Seeing Gray in a World of Black and White. We closed with discussion of a prayer that I have written for the General Board of Discipleship's worship website, and the prayer is also reprinted in the current Providence UMC newsletter. If you wish to use the prayer in your worship service you are certainly welcome. Then we prayed, and the day was at an end.

So, four public occasions to share the gospel: two with clergy, one with a congregation of grieving friends and family, one with a collection of Christians seeking to connect faith and politics. Who knows what will become of the words that go out? In hindsight the words seem inadequate, and yet at the same time one must simply trust that God will do something with them.


Blogger Deborah Suess said...

I was one of the Quakers who benefited from your presentation - thanks for your time, humor and good words. And I am going to now go look up the prayer you mentioned ... I find it very difficult to put in words that are both real and fair - our heart to God in these political and stressful times! thanks. Deborah Suess

8:49 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home