I'm not sure when the last time was, if ever, that I've attended a staff meeting where the devotional came from Zechariah, chapter 2! But that's what we had in the office this week. Cathy Hooker brought us a reading from Zechariah and also from John, and as frequently happens - the reading made me sit up and pay attention. Listen to this translation from the NRSV:
I looked up and saw a man with a measuring line in his hand. Then I asked, "Where are you going?" He answered me, "To measure Jerusalem, to see what is its width and what is its length." Then the angel who talked with me came forward and another angel came forward to meet him and said to him, "Run, say to that young man: Jerusalem shall be inhabited like villages without walls, because of the multitude of people and animals in it. For I will be a wall of fire around it, says the Lord, and I will be the glory within it."
I think God is trying to tell me something: the Reign of God is a whole lot bigger than we might imagine. We don't need to try and measure it because its size is immeasurable. Where we get in trouble is when we start trying to set the boundaries, of who's in and who's out. Or when we start trying to measure the kingdom, as if there are limits to God's grace.
It's also true for our congregations. Don't you agree that those walls get us in trouble sometimes? What if our congregations could be "inhabited like villages without walls, because of the multitude of people and animals in it?" (The animals might be an issue for the Property Committee, but oh well) How is it that we could begin to think of structuring our life together in that way - where measurements are not needed because God's glory cannot be contained?
Thursday, May 19, 2016
This is going to be a place where I will share with you my whereabouts, thoughts, ideas, opinions, and some of the wonderful things I know I will see as I sojourn with the saints of Mission Presbytery. Feel free to share your comments with me here. I'd love for this to be a two-way conversation.
So, today is Day Four on the job. I've been drinking from the fire hose this week, just trying to get oriented around the office, straighten out password issues, and wait for my family and the moving truck to arrive. The staff has warmly and graciously welcomed me, even with all the other things they have to do. If you didn't know, you have a terrific staff at the Presbytery office.
The Watsons are arriving in waves - my son Alex (our 18 year old) comes next Tuesday, daughter Meredith (our 16 year old) is most likely coming next Thursday, the furniture arrives next Thursday or Friday, and my husband Paul will follow as soon as his company works out the details for him to be able to work remotely for a time. I'm happy that Alex will be a counselor at John Knox Ranch this summer (which is why he's coming a little early). Meredith will get to spend a week at Mo-Ranch with me while I direct the Women's Conference.
The Women's Conference, which I committed to directing more than a year ago, is playing a little havoc with my attending the June Presbytery meeting. I apologize for that. Fortunately, there is a break between the two conferences. During that time I'll leave to come up to Austin for the General Council meeting, be with you for at least the opening worship and a little more of the meeting, and then I will have to hightail it back to Mo-Ranch. Thanks in advance to Michelle Vetters, who is my Co-Director. She's agreed to keep the home fires burning with the Conference while I come up for the Presbytery meeting.
That James Lee. Oh my goodness, what a hole he has created in our hearts and in our life together as a presbytery. Services for him this week were a real Witness to the Resurrection. I've heard estimates that somewhere between 2000 and 3000 people were there. Thomas Daniel preached a barn burner of a sermon, We will miss him so, even as we give thanks to God for his life and his ministry, and for the way he made us better people just being around him. Our love and prayers continue for his mother Vi, his two children, and the entire Lee family. You also need to know that the Stated Clerk and General Council are hard at work on a plan for filling the Moderator vacancy; they will have a way forward to present to you at the Presbytery meeting.
Lord willin' and the creek don't rise - which is debatable as I write this - I'm planning to worship with the saints at Llano First this Sunday as they celebrate their 135th anniversary. Looking forward to it!
Okay, enough for now. Please feel free to let me know you're reading, to ask any questions you like, to start a conversation topic, or even to just pick up the phone and give me a buzz. I'm so looking forward to meeting each of you and serving God with you here. After all, I hear it's true - we ARE better together!