July 2018 Reflections from the Rector
We are now in that dead middle of summer. This heat can drive even the most outdoorsy of us into the cool, manufactured breeze of an air conditioner. With sweat accumulating even in the early morning hours, it is no surprise why so many of us want to be inside.
I find that, in my spiritual life, the temptation is just as present. If given the opportunity to slip into a comfortable space in my faith, I will always take it. It takes prayerful work for me to be reminded to go out into the challenging places, the places where Jesus is waiting for me to show up. I am, like anyone else, weary of stepping out of my comfort zone, even when it is so clearly required of me in the greatest commandment and my baptismal covenant.
In November, I will be speaking with my friend Father Tom Dahlman (rector of Emmanuel-Shawnee) on Evangelism 101 for our diocesan convention. (This is proof that when I am asked to teach, it is often so that I will learn!) We are both honored to receive this invitation to teach a workshop for the diocese. Earlier this week, Tom+ came to visit me in Ada, and we shared our beliefs about and experiences with evangelism. We both come from fundamentalist backgrounds, each with our own story of how we ended up serving where we serve.
For our first order of business, we committed to praying every day between now and diocesan convention that God would open up opportunities for us to share the reason for the hope that we have. While I can’t tell any personal stories akin to the book of Acts, I can tell you that I feel a heightened awareness of the Holy Spirit in my mind and heart, even after just a few days of praying this prayer. I find myself striking up conversations with strangers more often, even if they don’t result in a proclamation of the gospel. I find myself walking a bit slower and making eye contact with strangers. These are small things, actions that could be lost in the shuffle of life if they weren’t the result of a daily commitment to prayer. Are these actions Christian in and of themselves? Certainly not. But they matter to me and to my faith because I can sense in my actions that they are directed by the Holy Spirit through prayer. I can’t know what God is doing through my simple gestures, but I do know that it is the Holy Spirit working through me toward the sharing of the gospel here in Ada. I am just trusting myself to the Holy Spirit’s direction as to how this reaches its fruition.
I would like to ask you, people of St. Luke’s, to take on this same prayer. Join me in praying that the Holy Spirit would lead each of us, individually, to opportunities to meet new people. Pray with me that we will have God-given chances to share the love of Christ with people we meet. In Ada, “everyone knows everyone,” but do we truly know everyone, and do we know how to pray for everyone? I would guess not. That means there is good gospel work for us to do, and I know that we can and will do it.
So, in these months when it is so easy to slip inside, I want to encourage you to step outside of your comfort zone and into the uncertain, yet blessed, space that God has opened up for us to share God’s love.
As always, I am encouraged by your witness to Ada, I am inspired by your passion for the gospel, and I am blessed to be serving alongside you!