Friday, April 19, 2013

more questions than answers

I walked in on someone riffling through my desk late yesterday afternoon. I should have suspected something when I found the main office door unlocked, and yet I just walked on back to my office and there he was, sitting in my chair going through my desk. Now, if you know anything about being the parent of 4 children, you know that I don’t have money lying around. What he did find was an old cell phone and a 1st generation iPod. My guitar and the church’s iPad were the only other things of value nearby. 

The young man showed up earlier in the day, Mary (our administrative assistant) found him wandering around in Lageshulte Hall. When he stated that he wanted a place to wait out the rain, Mary directed him to Wesley Foyer. As she left for the day Mary looked for him, but he was no where to be found.

If he was hungry, or in need of a place to stay all he had to do was ask. Instead he took a different path and he ended up leaving the building in handcuffs.

There is a lot of talk about what it means to be a person of faith. I myself wrestle with the question - what does it mean to be a leader in a Christian Church. But maybe these are the wrong questions to ask of our selves. Maybe we need to get back to the basics and wrestle with what it means to be in relationship with God and one another. To do this we have to look at the covenant that binds us together – with God and one another and this is our Baptism.

Baptism is just the beginning of a life long journey with God as we learn to live into the gift of being adopted into God’s family, in baptism we put on a new identity because then and there Christ claims us as his own. (here is more information from the UMC website)

We ask four questions in the baptism liturgy – and they are good questions to ponder and sit with and meditate on, to write on our hearts and share with our children as Moses taught the people of Israel to do in Deuteronomy 6:1-9.

Do you renounce the spiritual forces of wickedness, reject the evil powers of this world, and repent of your sin? (What are the spiritual forces of wickedness? What does it mean to reject evil powers? How do we repent – and at the same time how do we receive forgiveness?)

Do you accept the freedom and power God gives you to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever form they present themselves? (Do we live as people who have been empowered by God to resist evil and injustice and oppression? What does it mean to live into this freedom as a gift from God?)

Do you confess Jesus Christ as your Savior, put your whole trust in his grace, and promise to serve him as your Lord, in union with the church which Christ has opened to people of all ages, nations, and races? (How is my life transformed by confessing Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savoir? What is grace anyway? What will the Lord require of me as I serve him?)

According to the grace given to you, will you remain faithful members of Christ’s holy church and serve as Christ’s representatives in the world? (What does is mean to be a faithful member of Christ’s holy church? How is it possible that I can be a representative of Christ in the world?)

Today I am full of questions – and not so many answers. I can’t answer the why questions of why a young man would break into a church office. I can, however, ask myself how I am living into the gift of my baptism as a beloved child of God freed from sin, blessed by God’s abundant grace and set loose to serve as a representative of Christ in the world. A pretty awesome job description that isn’t reserved for me, as your pastor, but is what binds us together as the priesthood of ALL believers…the very Body of Christ in unity here in Waverly, Iowa and around the world even - how cool is that!

I am glad no one was hurt last night, I am sad that a young persons life has taken a wrong turn, and I invite you to join me in prayer for 'A' who is seeking his way, even if he doesn’t realize it yet – God loves him with extravagant abundance. God loves you too!

In Christ, together,


p.s. This Sunday at our 10:30 worship service we will welcome two new people into the family of God with two baptisms! Come and join in the celebration and remember your baptism and be thankful.