November 13, 2017

Planning to Seek Light

Send out your light and your truth, that they may lead me, and bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling. Psalm 43:3

We seek God's light and truth to lead us, and we envision that it will lead to eternal life. But what path to take? It's a question with which we grapple as individuals, and as faith communities joined in our church homes.

Grappling is a great reason to make time to consider more than what "our" most pressing needs are (deficit budget, leaking roof, etc.), but rather how well our faith community is following Jesus’ reminder to the church leaders of his day, challenging them to understand God’s Word: “I desire mercy and not sacrifice.” (Matthew 12: 7)

Vestry nominations and elections are right around the corner for many congregations. Around the next corner, hopefully, is an annual planning retreat for the newly-organized Vestry. Now is a great time to start creating an agenda for a light seeking time together.

You might begin by alerting nominees and existing Vestry members that they should be committed to attending a prayerful retreat session that will last much longer than a regular Vestry session – maybe even requiring an overnight stay at a retreat center that starts with Friday evening prayer and reflection and ends with a 4 to 6 hour session on Saturday.

Members of Vestries may come to the planning table loaded with the weight of everyday needs, pulled in so many directions. They may want to hurry to get the planning done so they can take action. How wonderful it is when a group values taking time out for prayerful reflection, to listen for the still, small voice of God, swirling in the leaves of the path ahead.

Seek justice, love mercy, walk humbly with your God. Mercy, not sacrifice. "What do these mean for us a faith community?" is a wonderful question to deeply and prayerfully ponder.