I guess I’m a preacher.
Yesterday, the elders prayed over me, and told me to go to work. From an experiential point of view, the morning was amazing mostly because of the deep calm inside. I’ve been in analogous situations before: being charged with certain responsibilities that carry significant weight. All the other times, my heart would pound in that body-shaking way, and I would be able to take on whatever, but there was always a sort of fear/excitement that went along with it, voice shaking, crackling with energy, me pumping along hoping to get somebody going just by sheer strength of wild-eyed frenzy.
Yesterday, my heart was calm as a still lake.
I don’t know what it means, but the thought went through my head that this is what the fruit of the Spirit feels like. Peace that passes understanding, a peace not generated out of my own restless desire to finally get my life right, or finally live up to what God has for me, or whatever other such notions normally have me in such a lather. It is a simple place, a place of restful moving, living inside a dynamic situation with a certain ease because none of this depends on me (at least at the deepest and truest levels) or my increased levels of motivational hyperness.
The day was long. As a congregation, we talked about the unsettled nature of the moment we found ourselves in and the fact that in the midst of all manner of unsettled moments, Jesus says, as he did in John 14:1, “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me.” I told them we are going on a journey, and the first leg in pilgrimage in search of the holy place that is our own deep hearts and the heart of the Christ that is doing his work there through the Holy Spirit. And I also told them I knew some of them were still wondering if this was a journey they wanted to be on. That’s fine, I said. But the invitation is open, and the desire is that the family that is this church moves together to the place God is calling us.
I asked very simply, “Are you coming?”
Then to touch base with our life group was great. Our little group has been traveling together for several years now, and they know the truth about me, and will continue to treat me like the guy I am. No preacherly treatment here. Good friends, good food, challenging talk, and relationships I cherish.
Then the Christmas Musical Act I stumble-through. We learned a lot, laughed hysterically through most of it, and rarely got impatient of panicky. All good. We’ve got lots of work to do, and it’s a real joy to see these people sing and dance and act in ways that normal life just won’t let them do.
Then the 6:00 o’clock hour came, and in came the giants. I say the giants because about a dozen people gathered in our sanctuary to pray. People that pray are giants, and I don’t mean the bad kind we have to face down. I mean the kind that carry weary people on their backs all the way to the throne of the Father. They prayed for an hour and a half, and I left bleary-eyed and humbled, knowing that God was indeed close to us, listening, watching, calling, healing, hovering over us as the Spirit did at the beginning, moving over the chaos preparing to create great beauty.
Movin’ out soon…