I know I have more years of ministry in my rear view mirror than I do ahead of me, bit surprised last Sunday when I felt God tell me “I am doing a new thing.” I replied in my own thoughts “I’ve heard that before, like Solomon says there is nothing new on the face of the earth.” Scripture says the grass withers and the flower fades and I guess I was feeling a little withered. I had “been there done that and bought the T shirt.” The idea of ‘a new thing’ did not hold the attraction for me that it ought. Patiently God persisted that he is the “I am” and that it was he and not me who was to do a new thing. I shared the insight during the service and received a lot of encouragement to not strive but to relax into the work that God is doing. As the “I Am” all his creative work is new and the vanity that Solomon weeps about is self-striving.
Just last night I was in another service. This time the members of Threshold were gathered from around the country. I have been a part of this group for over 35 years and it is always wonderful to be together. The service was quite a simple liturgy in which we were to make promises one to another and launch our group official as a “Missional Community.” We had been moving toward this evening for a number of years and it was good to be arriving at the launch, but I was surprised by how powerful and meaningful the evening was. I shared my surprise with God in prayer and senses his smile and reply “I told you!” I believe he even winked!
Striving is always so wearisome. Relaxing into God is invigorating. Why then do I find it so hard to do the easier thing? The only answer that I can come up with is that, at some level, I do not trust God. I am determined that when I find myself on that ‘level’ again, I will hear the voice of Love saying “Friend come up higher.”
Street Hope is itself designed to become a ‘missional community’. I love the stories of my hero St. Francis and his founding of a missional community. Each week I teach about Jesus’ great desire to be with his group of disciples to form them for his mission. So you see the launch of an evangelistic missional community is in many ways my heart’s desire. I am thrilled to be a part of this new thing and was pleased to join my promises with those of my brothers and sisters. People may ask what this all means. Beyond being an evangelistic missional community bound together by promises of fidelity to our: God, our Rule, and each other, we will see. God is doing a new thing we haven’t been here before we look only to him.