Musings from Ministry Team Members

Posted October 25th, 2018

Greetings Family,

On Monday I traveled to Great Bend and spent part of the day with others from the Western Plains District talking about what inspires us. For those that were there, I understand that is an oversimplification of the amazing conversations we had, but for the time I was there, I sensed the discussions anchored around what inspires us. Or maybe put differently, what about our communities of faith impact us in such a positive way, that we hunger for more? Spiritually. Physically. Emotionally. Mentally.

I left Great Bend with the words that were shared around our table of worship, and one thought that stuck with me was this: at the core of who we are, as a tribe and as individuals, is a deep desire for connections. We need each other. We need our sisters and brothers walking beside us, breaking bread with us, and serving the world together.

We need people to listen to us when we are hurting. We need folks who can hear our stories, even the darkest elements, and still love and welcome us. We need sisters and brothers who can openly, and honestly, challenge us and hold us accountable. We need spaces to disagree with one another, safely, without fear of losing a friend. We need to be able to sing, to pray, to give of ourselves, to unpack scripture, and we need to do it together, as the body of Christ.

Around our holy table, on Monday, we embodied what the author of Ephesians called the church to be: “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and (Creator *changes by Jerry) of all, who is over all and through all and in all.…” Away from the table, we all could have been as different as apples and oranges, but to quote the well-known movie, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” at that table, “we are all fruit.”

As I drove home and reflected on my sisters and brothers around the table, I smiled and laughed and felt hope. Because the rhetoric of the world, especially in our politically charged climate, seems to push us against each other. But around that table, in that holy space, what might have divided us outside disappeared into the abyss. What walls that the world constructed to separate us, God tore down and helped us create a beautiful tapestry of humanity. Around the table were my fellow pilgrims, my sisters and brothers, who long to experience God in so many ways, and to see the church respond to God’s call to be the church.

Sure, if we were all pressed a little more, we might have strong opinions on how or why the church needs to be the church. I heard my sisters and brothers share that to be the church we must honor each other. That we need each other. That we must protect each other. That we work hard to listen to one another. That we sing songs and plant gardens and laugh and cry and build each other up. What I heard that day, and what spoke to me as I drove home, was that to be the church, we have to be there for one another.

We have to take the chance to be vulnerable for each other. We have to trust each other. We have to believe that the other, in our midst, wants what we want. The world might thrive on creating the us versus them dichotomy, but not so the church. The church creates spaces where we can turn our verbal swords and shields into pruning hooks and plowshares. Around all of the holy tables, we create, we can commune with God and one another, and honor the charge of the author Ephesians, who wrote “…one Lord, one faith, one baptism…” To the glory of God and for our neighbors good. Amen.

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¹ Ephesians 4: 4-6 all scriptures come from the New Revised Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

— Jerry Bowen

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