Monday, December 30, 2013

What Gives You Life?

For the next 30 days, I will be be receiving an amazing gift from my amazing church. Broadneck has the remarkable practice of giving their pastors a sabbatical of 30 days after three years of service. After three and a half fantastic years at Broadneck, I will be taking my sabbatical now through the month of January, taking time to get married (an unusual use of sabbatical, I know!) and to rest and find refreshment for continued ministry.
As I have prepared for this time, I was convicted that I wanted January to be a "sabbatical" of sorts for you What Gives Us Life?" I have asked them to consider not only what they see as life-giving in the lectionary passages for each week, but also to share some of what is giving them life currently as they continue the journey of faith.
all as well--a chance for you to find renewal and restoration as a congregation. I also wanted to lend some coherence to the month even as you have the gift of hearing four different amazing preachers--Cherie Smith, John Roberts, Leslie Copeland-Tune, and Brent Walker. So I asked all four preachers to offer reflections on a common theme: "

This theme idea was inspired by one of my favorite writers, Barbara Brown Taylor, who had this to say in her book An Altar in the World (my recommended reading for you this month!):

Many years ago now, a wise old priest invited me to come speak at his church in Alabama. “What do you want me to talk about?” I asked him. “Come tell us what is saving your life now,” he answered. It was as if he had swept his arm across a dusty table and brushed all the formal china to the ground. I did not have to try to say correct things that were true for everyone. I did not have to use theological language that conformed to the historical teachings of the church. All I had to do was figure out what my life depended on. All I had to do was figure out how I stayed as close to that reality as I could, and then find some way to talk about it that helped my listeners figure out those same things for themselves.

This is my prayer for you this month--that you might rediscover what your life depends on, or discover it anew--that you may find a way to connect to the things that give you life and to stay close to them. Most of all, that this may be a life-giving time for you as you consider the one in whom "was light, and that light was the life of all people" (John 1:4). What is saving your life right now? What does your life depend on? And how might God want to help you connect to new life, rest, and renewal?

Some people will be sharing their testimonies addressing this question in worship in the coming weeks, and I hope you will consider how you would answer these questions for yourself. Share your answers with me when I return!

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