Rev.G 3/22/17

Right Tool for the Job Part II

It’s a green, sunny springtime Wednesday, so let’s not forget how blessed we are to live here (just checked my sister’s weather in Michigan—34 degrees). Gratitude is also in order for the outstanding results of the youth’s SSP auction fundraiser Sunday: watch Connections at the end of the week for a full report, but here’s one sample number—160 people enjoyed Lisa Kadowaki’s fine cooking, AND Sarah Kistler’s yummy desert!

Speaking of cooking: some of you have been kind to ask about ‘how I’m doing’ in the face of concerns raised about our ministry here at CUMC and my role in that. Here’s an anecdote that comes to my mind: on our recent trip in Patagonia, we were entering a remote national preserve, eager to find some food. The only thing we found was a rough, hand-lettered sign saying “Pan” (bread), pointing down a little dirt track. Karen and our friend Elizabeth walked down into the forest, and after a while came back with fresh, hot sopapillas (a fried bread—yummy!) We were glad to have it, especially as a cold rain started to come down.

Later, Karen described what they had found: a tiny shack with a brother and sister selling bread. Both of their faces were visibly and significantly disfigured by fire, perhaps a result of the vat of oil for the fry bread catching fire or spilling? Not ours to know. But Elizabeth named the hardest part: now, “Every day, they’re facing the fire again.”

From before I declared my intent to go into ministry, I’ve known it would require ‘facing the fire’ on a regular basis. I grew up in the church, was active regionally as a youth, entered ministry early and have worked nationally: I’ve seen and experienced a lot of fire. So I know the truth is, if you can’t take the heat, stay out of the kitchen. That said, as I’ve listened to the concerns (and affirmations) that have been offered up about my work here, I am reminded to ask, “Am I the right tool for the job—for this job?”

The answers to that are many and varied so far! What that diversity points to, at least in part, is that we are not all in agreement on what the job even IS. So, that will be part of the on-going discernment of our church leadership, even as ministry evolves as we go into the future. I look forward to that journey together with everyone here who is willing to stay in the kitchen so we can serve and feed others.

Speaking of which: in Luke 12:49, Jesus says, “I have come to cast fire upon the earth, and how I wish that it were already ablaze!” How does that inform our ministry today?

Lent/Easter Quiz: for those in the know or want to know; http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/lent-quiz

This Sunday’s Headline Roundtable: here are a few articles up for consideration—could be just one on its own, or see if you can find the overlapping idea and issue:

This Sunday’s Worship & Home Base Bible Study
The scripture lesson for this Sunday’s worship is another long one from John;
http://bible.oremus.org/?passage=John+9:1-41&vnum=yes&version=nrsv

But the Bible Study discussion group works one week ahead: so from 10:45-11:30am, we’ll discuss this lesson—also long, but well known: http://bible.oremus.org/?passage=John+11:1-45&vnum=yes&version=nrsv

Peace, Rev. Gary

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