Friday, April 23, 2010

Back to Reality - Is That Always a Good Thing?

In the weeks after LCI 2010 I have committed to continue to pray for the people who invested the time and energy to come to UUMC for a few days to think, learn, pray, dream and share. A piece of scripture keeps coming to mind. Luke 4:42-44:

At daybreak he departed and went into a deserted place. And the crowds were looking for him; and when they reached him, they wanted to prevent him from leaving them. But he said to them, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other cities also; for I was sent for this purpose.” So he continued proclaiming the message in the synagogues of Judea.

At this point, Jesus is in Capernaum and has been healing and casting out demons. The people of Capernaum would have been quite happy for Jesus to set up shop and keep doing that. There was certainly no limit to the amount of people who needed healing. But Jesus, history's clearest and most compelling visionary, knew that this was not the focus of his mission and ministry.

While none of us should claim to have the lightening clarity of vision that Jesus had (he was, after all, the Son of God) we can pray that we have moments and seasons that there is clarity of vision, that we do have a glimpse of what we are supposed to be doing in the name of Jesus Christ and in the service of the Kingdom. Sometimes that happens when we go to a conference or have some other time away to think, learn, pray, dream and share. But here is what often happens:

We go back to Capernaum.

And when we get back, people are still lined up waiting for us to do what they expect.

This is where things get sticky and tricky for church leaders. We can't just ignore human need. We can't go back to our churches and say, "who cares what these people think they need, I have bigger plans!" But that is not what Jesus did. Jesus was clear about the larger human need. Jesus was clear that, as much as the people of Capernaum needed healing, the world needed saving.

I said in the closing words of LCI that it is my prayer that everything that we learned and shared would not just end up in another binder in the bottom of another file cabinet. These are the critical days. Can we find a way to be a clear about the purpose we were sent for? Can we manage to do this while people continue to line up demanding us to fulfill the purpose they think we were sent for? Can we hold these two in tension? Can we be good pastors and leaders and care for the immediate need around us while keeping our eyes set on the larger vision and purpose that God has set before us? If we can, God will continue to do amazing and powerful things in our churches and communities.

Feel free to post comments with your own struggles and victories.


blog comments powered by Disqus