I'm hoping that people are taking this ordinary church time to try to see some of the extraordinary things that God is doing in our lives.
Nobody has responded through the website or on Facebook, but I hope you're looking.
Extraordinary doesn't have to mean big. When my father died years ago someone gave me an African Violet plant. I am not good with plants, so in a year or two when it stopped blooming, I was just happy the plant stayed alive. After several years of being used to seeing this leafy, green, yet flowerless plant, I returned from Synod Assembly to discover a single purple blossom on the plant. The timing was perfect. It was in June, which include Father's Day, our anniversary, and my father's birthday. It was small and simple, but extraordinary.
Extraordinary can be big. Our neighbor came over last night to tell us that a long-awaited adoption had finally came through. Their quest to adopt this girl from Nigeria began at least five years ago, but it kept getting delayed. They never gave up hope. Family members in Nigeria kept in touch with her. They called regularly. They managed to take a family trip one year to visit her. Suddenly, after years, she was there, in their home. It was such a surprise that they had to go shopping at 8:30 at night to pick up some things for her. For them it was a prayers-answered moment. It was extraordinary.
It's clear that our congregation is about to go through some extraordinary times. We're not going to drift quietly through the summer. We have a new pastor coming in July. As a congregation we've identified that we need change. Jason is ready to help us make sure that change happens. It won't be immediate. There will be small steps. Which is why we need to get used to seeing how even small things can be extraordinary.
Some people may leave us. That happens every time there's a new pastor. But wouldn't it be extraordinary to see new faces on Sunday mornings?
The Stewardship theme this year is “Responding Through Faith.” Faith is active. It calls for a response from us. What are our gifts, how can we use those gifts to do something that helps us in our spiritual growth? How can we use those gifts to take action and respond to God's call?
Congregation members have sewing, shopping, speaking, musical, cooking, building, construction, painting, and gardening talents. Congregation members have talents we haven't even begun to identify. How can those talents be used to help us in our spiritual growth? How can those talents be used to respond to God?
How can you take something that you may find ordinary, and make it extraordinary?
My anniversary present this year was a pin of a Wild Goose. We picked it up on Iona Island last year.
The Celts looked at nature and saw God revealed in all His glory and they understood God best when they took symbols from what they experienced. The Holy Spirit was symbolized by the wild goose. Doves were docile and delicate, but the wild goose was untamable, free, and unpredictable. Instead of a soft coo, the wild goose was noisy and raucous. And it seemed always to be on the move—on a pilgrimage ordained by the Lord Himself.
Jesus said that those Christians who were led by the Spirit were like the wind—you don’t know where it comes from and you don’t know where it’s going. A Christian who follows the wild goose is wild and free themselves. They have lives that are less than predictable. They live life to the full (John 10:10). They are wild and free, untamable either by society that would bind them with lies or by religion that would chain them with duty and obligation. (Flight of the Wild Goose)
I’ve long loved the wild goose. It takes something ordinary in life, a noisy goose, and makes it an extraordinary symbol of what our life in Christ should be like.
Keep looking for the extraordinary in the ordinary this summer. Explore your talents and gifts and discern how they can be used to respond to God.
- Ann Warner