Here is another life-long learning from Harold Bauman. In the seminar at Black Rock Retreat he taught us not to build a box around any one, giving them a hopeless label that says, “No change possible.” Not even around myself. So through the years I have observed much change in others around me, and also in me. Even now as I approach a ninetieth year I expect change. Not only am I aging, I am maturing as I get on with life. This gives me hope for others and for myself as well.
This past Sunday Morning I woke up to the task of filling a form used to evaluate our lead pastor’s ministry. This process had troubled me during the night and I discovered that this was a duty I could not fulfil. Too many painful memories stabbed me; I had endured and supervised too many pastoral evaluations. So, I did not fill out the form. Instead I wrote a letter explaining my pain to the person leading the process. After the letter was written, Joyce and I went to the worship service at College Mennonite Church. Lead Pastor Phil Waite preached on the theme: “Owning the Mystery.”
The preacher used the metaphor of the relationship of a husband to his wife. The better a man knows his wife she becomes more mysterious to him. This is true of the Holy Spirit. The more the church knows of the Holy Spirit, the greater the mystery. We ended this part of the service by singing, In the Bulb there is a Flower.
Joyce and I parted to go to different groups during the educational hour. The group I was with were in serious discussion. Some of us had been hurt so deeply by a church in the past that the thought of entering a house of worship makes us sick to the stomach. Others of us continue to be drawn to worship. Though we have differences, our commonalities are such that the group members care deeply for each other and for others.
At noon, Joyce and I enjoyed the congregation’s potluck. Appetite’s satisfied, the congregation evolved into a strategic planning session. The planning process tried to collect hard data to find out the mind of the congregation. Since Sunday, I’ve listened a second time to Pastor Waite’s sermon and heard something new. He concluded that the mind of the church revealed through strategic planning could be contrary to the mind of the mysterious Holy Spirit. As the mystery grows, so grows mutual trust. Trust the Spirit, urged Waite.
After resting our weary eighty-year plus-old bodies, Joyce and I enjoyed our weekly Sunday evening popcorn repast. Then we went to the meeting of New Perspectives of Faith at College Church. We heard a compelling report from Gwen Gustafson-Zook, pastor of outreach at CMC, on Finding God in Palestine Today! Special attention was given to Palestinian Christians. What shall we do in response? The Holy Spirit will guide us, and strategic planning may be appropriate.
may be dud laying in dust
bulbs bloom quietly