February 8th 2015
with reference to Mark 1:29-39 & Isaiah 40:21-31
Last Sunday we heard of Jesus preaching in the synagogue inCapernaum, and this week we hear ‘as soon as they left the synagogue’ (it appears he didn’t even stop for coffee hour!) he goes straight to Simon’s house, heals his mother-in-law and the next thing you know, the whole village shows up at the doorstep with their assorted ailments.
“vs. 35 says, `In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed.’ It was crucial for him to find that place and space of renewal – to lean into the heart of God, which is the purpose of worship. Found by his eager disciples, he says it’s time to move on and share the message of God’s love with others. Worship, pastoral care and outreach.
The reading from Isaiah 40 talks about the need, even for the young and strong to `wait on Yahweh (God). To wait doesn’t imply here serving, as one `waits on tables’, but it means to cultivate an attitude of hope and patient expectation, and that means for a time – non action. It is to be spiritually open to God’s empowerment rather than relying only on one’s own resources.
Isaiah encourages his listeners, “Those who wait for YHWH will soar on eagle’s wings.” If Isaiah and Jesus had the sense to withdraw from the busyness of life in order to replenish their souls, why would we think we can be fully present and loving to each other, if we don’t do that too? We nourish our own souls in order that we may be loving in the world. Refreshed by worship we can care for one another and the wider community.
Today, we will reflect on the ministry that has happened through this community of faith over the past year, and we will make some decisions together as to what we do next. In order to make those decisions, we need to take time together to share our hopes and dreams. I want to honour the time and energy you have today, and so we take this portion of worship to have a talking circle and respond to some questions together.
To facilitate this, I went over the congregational surveys from last year, wrote down our top priorities, which were worship, pastoral care and outreach, and found some questions around congregational vitality (from Presbytery workshop) that I think will help us reflect on these priorities together.
** We then formed a talking circle, and explored the following quesitons together – every person having an opportunity to speak to each questions:
– Where do you expereicne a sense of the Spirit/God/Jesus in our life, work adn worship at Sicamous United Church?
-How does this congregation uspport and encourage the deepening and sharing of your faith?
– In what ways do we minister to the wider community/world?
– In what ways does our congregation care well for each other; where are the blocks?
– How do we invite, welcome and include new peopel in our community of faith?
The conversation was encouraging and inspiring. We even had two new people come in to church in the middle of the discussion – we told them what we were doing and invited them to join in. They participated with wisdom, honesty and enthusiasm. WOW. Thank you everyone for sharing from your hearts. Blessings abound!