Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Upping the ante

When I was in marching band, sweating to death in a wool uniform and white gloves, I found myself angry at someone. I don’t know his or her name, I don’t think I want to know, but at the age of fourteen, I harbored a complete and passionate grudge against whoever said, “This symphony is great and all, but wouldn’t it be better if the musicians were tromping around in a field making cool designs?” thus giving birth to marching bands. “I like Mahler, too,” said his friend, “and it would be really cool if they were making a star pattern!” 

Sometimes the ante gets upped and we see it; sometimes the ante gets upped and we don’t.  When looking at God’s action in the world, when we see the antes get raised, we know God is going to do something massive, something challenging, something unexpected, and something absolutely phenomenal, even if it means we might be doing something outside of our comfort zone. 

Preparations for General Assembly in Orlando are underway, and among the resolutions on the docket is one calling for the recognition, welcome and ordination of people regardless of a wide variety of factors including the greatly controversial (to some) sexual orientation and identity. Conversations are happening nationally to prepare for arguments, discussions and hopefully, understanding. In the Southwest Region of our denomination, a restructure is happening that will change the way we function as areas together as a region, and hopefully create a fluid and dynamic system of interconnectedness that allows for growth and the new look of mainline Protestantism. In our Area, some very talented and dedicated folks have begun coming out of the woodwork—I think of my friend Paul at Highlands Christian Church—ready to revitalize, restore and resurrect area congregations to new life in Christ’s Reign. And here, right after declaring the Year of Holy Inconvenience, well, Sunday happened. 

And you did marvelously, Midway Hills. 

I write this on Tuesday evening, having finally found out why everyone had made comments about being flexible and rolling with the punches. As our scheduled preacher, Don Manworren, is a lively but stable person, I wondered what had drastically changed, and learning of our pinch hitter from Wilshire and the hospitality, warmth and peace our congregation offered in some turbulence makes me very proud to be your minister.  Don’t get me wrong, things aren’t going to return to normal any time soon—in fact, we’re hopefully moving away from normal and into the Reign of God which is by definition un-normal—but, where we’re going is where God is calling, and judging by the antes being upped, it’s going to be an incredible ride. 

I hope to see you this Sunday (I’ll be there barring surprise illness) as Amber preaches from the fourth chapter of Luke.  And until then, let’s pray to be a part of what God is doing. 

Shalom y’all,  Arthur

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