Emptiness & Fullness
Although February is one day longer than usual this leap year, it’s still the shortest month of the year. Nevertheless, it still feels to me like this month is already jam packed with activity! Lots of exciting new things are happening in our church. The Vision Team & Trustees are moving forward in our listening within the Weaver community. An Electronic Giving program is being launched by the Finance Committee. Our church Council is taking a new “Loving, Learning & Leading” approach to our work as servant-leaders. Several leaders are beginning work with Four Mile UMC to discern new ministry opportunities. A new leadership development group has begun meeting. A Youth Ministry team is beginning to meet regularly to plan ministry with youth. There are certainly dozens of other new things happening that I haven’t listed here.
While all of this church activity is exciting, it can also feel exhausting! I’m reminded of Jesus words of invitation to rest:
“28) Come to me, all you who are struggling hard and carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. 29) Put on my yoke, and learn from me. I’m gentle and humble. And you will find rest for yourselves. 30) My yoke is easy to bear, and my burden is light.”” (Matthew 11:28–30 CEB)
During the Church season of Lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday (February 10) Christians often give something up. The sacrifice could be of anything from chocolate, to focused time in prayer, to visiting people in prison. The point of our sacrificial practices is that we share in Christ’s suffering, following his example and emptying ourselves like he did (see 1 Peter 2:21-24 and Philippians 2:5-11). This Way of Jesus involves a God-designed balance of both fruitful work and Sabbath rest. The only way to find this balance is to do it the way Jesus did.
This Lent, I invite you to join me in learning the way of Jesus through prayer. Starting Ash Wednesday, I will be praying every morning, noon and evening, using a prayer guide called Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals (info available here: http://commonprayer.net/ ). I will be in the Family Life Center Parlor Monday-Thursday mornings from 6:00-6:30am (with the possible exception of a few days when the Headley twins are born!) Please consider joining me in this discipline of following Jesus!
Your servant in Christ,
Image: Emptiness by Rishi Bandopadhay via Flickr. (CC BY-NC 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/d8nAtd