Wednesday, March 25, 2015

"Thoughts and a Prayer"

I suspect that once in awhile
each of us desires rest.
The pace of life is quick.
Schedules full; lives, a blur.
Here and there we go.
Stillness is not our forte.

Some lament (a protest)
The rate of change, exponential
Gears and levers have yielded
Chips and boards banter
Zeros and Ones, touch-screens, tweets
Meaning receding.

This: a type of shorthand
For the clever, the quick?
The restless, depressed?

Longing, desire, want
They: of hope and trust or
Just despair and grief?

Hosanna! Crucify!
We are so fickle
The prototype flip-flop.

Do we know what we want?
Or better yet, is there a better question?
What does God desire?
Might the Son inspire, enable
A transformation, a destination
A hill worthy of climb?
Free at last to live surprised by hope!

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right Spirit within me.
All else is commentary --
artifacts of ancient struggles.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

A Radical Proposal

I've been having the best time recently preparing for and guiding our Wednesday evening Bible studies during Lent. There are many and various ways to study scripture. In the setting of an evening class following a meal, the challenge is not putting anyone to sleep with a boring lecture. I prefer to approach a study as a group effort. We're in this together, I'm inclined to say. Most times it feels like I received far more than I was able to give. I appreciate the wisdom and perspective that others bring to the task of Bible study.

Beginning in January, our church council and I began reading and studying a little book by Dave Daubert, Living Lutheran: Renewing your Congregation. We're taking our time, considering a chapter each month. The last half hour of our meetings from now on are going to include a time of intentional Bible study, conversation, and prayer. The chapter we just discussed this past Monday evening emphasized three keys to the process of renewal: Bible study, prayer, and dialog. Daubert contends that each of these provides an essential part of coming together and finding a Lutheran voice. So, please keep this bold commitment of the church council in your prayers as we take up this spiritual discipline as foundational in the work of congregational leadership.

While it is wonderful that the leadership of the congregation has committed to this spiritual discipline, it is certain that they do not have a monopoly on it.  Maybe you are aware that there are a couple other Bible study groups within our congregation. Bob Kane has been facilitating a Men's Bible study and a rather recent development has been the Thursday morning Bible study group that meets at Perkins.

What about you? If you are not already involved in a Bible study of some sort, would you be willing to be part of such a study? What would it look like, for example, if our Neighbors Connecting groups birthed Bible study gatherings for each neighborhood? I know we love to eat and get together. (I know I do!)

I encourage us to go deeper. We can do this. We are called to do this.

Here is what I ask of you:  Join me and take some time to pray and think about this radical idea of Bible study. Write down your thoughts, reflections, and questions. Then share them with me. Together, I would like us to cultivate a culture of intentional Bible study in the life of our congregation. It should become as natural and expected as a covered dish social (in fact it could even include that from time to time!).

In the meantime, know that you are welcome to come and enjoy the remaining Soup and Scripture studies on these Lenten Wednesday evenings. Beyond that, maybe we should just continue meeting weekly like that on a Wednesday evening for Bible study and Evening Prayer. What do you think? Let me know. So many possibilities!