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The Grammar of God

When I was in grammar school I remember learning about sentence structure, punctuation, interrogatory words, and plot lines.  One of my favorite words then (and now) was denouement.  I remember the drawing my teacher used to describe the climax and zone where this resolution phase begins.  I love a good mystery where "the strands of the plot are drawn together, and matters are explained or resolved." (from online Oxford Dictionary) Especially when I can't figure it out early!


On June 9th you staked a claim to become a Resurrecting Church. This decision, while not clear for some, has taken certain options off the table, and the choices that are left flow directly from your discernment on June 9th.  On Sunday, you will be asked to reaffirm that choice and then arrive, not at the denouement, but at the point where the Council is authorized to form a Discernment or Search Team to do the work of seeking the pastor who will share ministry with you in the next season.  Once you make this choice you will arrive at the denouement where the interim season will begin to wrap up and the next season will begin.


This is not new news. We have been talking about this moment for a long time. It is what usually happens as an interim ministry season winds down. 


You have accomplished so many things over the last two and a half years. You have shared stories about the past and worked to heal the broken places that have lingered from years gone by.  You discerned and affirmed who you are and crafted a governance structure for living into that identity. You said goodbye to some and hello to others.  You asked, “What can we keep doing?” and “What do we need to let go of?”  You looked at the changes in congregational life over the last ten years, particularly the last four years, and worked to come to grips with where all of this has brought you. You are now asking what is possible and what is faithful as you listen to our Still Speaking God’s vision for your future.  Glory to God!


As I think of the ways we have travelled together I hear the interrogatory or question words calling us into the depths of God’s creativity and grace. 

  • WHO are you?

  • HOW did you get there?

  • WHERE are you going?

  • WHAT kind of pastor do you need now?

  • WHO will that pastor be?

 

In each moment you can also ask WHY.

  • Why this identity and not that?

  • Why this direction and not that?

  • Why this leader and not that?


To ponder these questions, we are asked to lean into the Holy Spirit “who helps us in our weakness”.  We are asked to engage a process of discernment that acknowledges our common plight, our shared life, our One Body who “has everything in common.” 


Regardless of the choices you make, the future is yours, collectively. 


My call has been, and continues to be, to provide resources, guidance, inspiration, and space to help you hear the Holy Spirit speaking to and through you so you can claim the truth of WHO you are, to know WHERE God is calling you so the Pastor God has prepared for the next season of ministry with you can see your light and join you for the journey ahead. 


Regardless of WHAT kind of pastor you need, or WHO that person is, I remain deeply honored to have shared this season of exploration and growth with you as your Interim Minister.  Whether we go forward together, or not, I offer my prayers for the decisions before you in humility, as your Interim Minister.


Let us pray…


Source of Life,

This has been a season of exploration and growth, even as we have said goodbye to some beloved friends for a variety of reasons.   Help us remember that “there is a time for every purpose under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1), and that you hold us in our grief even as we discover new life always emerging through you.


Pillar of Sight,

We have named so many places where pain and injury linger in these last two and a half years. You have given us tools to help us turn toward one another with RESPECT and grace.  Help us remember that when we embrace and embody the Ministry of Reconciliation, we can see the “rough places made into a plain” (Isaiah 40:4) by you.


Breath of Inspiration,

You have helped us dream dreams and see visions for the future that bring delight to some and fear to others.  Remind us that The Church is eternal even if this church is not.  Help us listen when you “tell us of the new things, of the hidden things” (Isaiah 48:6) that are only possible when we trust in you.


Prince of Peace,

Our world is so full of division and hate and we know that fear and anxiety can pull us toward judgement and blame and away from curiosity and humility.  Give us the grace to see with the “eyes of our heart” (Ephesians 1:18) enlightened by the hope we find in you.


Grace of Grace and God of Glory,

On your people pour your power; crown your ancient Church’s story, bring its bud to glorious flower. Grant us wisdom, grant us courage for the facing of this hour, for the facing of this hour. (Harry Emerson Fosdick, 1930)


May the One who inspires our curiosity, helps guide our discernment, and fills our hearts with gratitude and praise, bring us joy and peace no matter what.  Amen.  


In Love and Humility,

Pastor Robin



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1 Comment


Janet Lee
Janet Lee
Jun 28

There is no doubt, in my experience, that we already have found our next pastor in Robin. We need someone capable of seeing our church move forward even if that is from the bottom up. Robin has shown us that change is important where needed, as well as honoring our traditions.


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