Last year at this time I was in final prep mode counting down to the beginning of the first sabbatical of my vocation in ministry.  Those days just before moved as methodically as the ball descending on New Year’s Eve in Times Square.  One of the last things I did was attend staff meeting in January.  During the devotion, Pam asked us to pull a piece of paper from a bowl and keep it with us during the year.  EPIPHANY!  I pulled the one pictured here.

I’ve kept that star on my desk and carried it in my backpack when on the road.  It has been a reminder.  I’m not sure how I’ve done with it, though, humbled I was this year with the gift of sabbatical time, with the well wishes, with the gift of a painting and guitar by campers this summer, and by those that did my work while I rested, read, and wrote.  Humbled by my privilege and aware how few are gifted sabbatical or even time off.  It is one of the things we don’t do well in our culture.

Humility (def): freedom from pride or arrogance.(1)

The Regional Youth Council was asked, “What should the Church be doing?” Their answers heavily require togetherness, covenant, and community. We are the Church when we nurture, listen, provide safe-space for hard conversation or stories, comfort, celebrate the Spirit of God and our rituals point to God instead of ourselves or our idols.  We are the Church when we follow Jesus and his way of living.  His way of meeting people.  We are the Church when our outreach provides in tragedy or for life’s necessities, and our outreach also changes the systems that make charitable outreach necessary.

O, for a world where . . .

O, for a world when . . .

We are the Church/church.  The kindom (empire) of God is already present, and not quite yet here or complete.  How will you incarnate that kinship in 2020 as you follow Jesus?