NEWS & NOTES
I spent a couple of days at a retreat center last week embarking on what will be a year-long spiritual formation cohort. What is spiritual formation? In Christian terms, it is the process of receiving all that we are in Jesus. That is, having our savior rescue us from our false ways of being into his true way of being.
The Christian gospel is the announcement that God has done all the work to save us from the darkness within us. That's an announcement that our church has savored over our eight years of existence. Yet there is more to the story. God has given us all things. But we have not yet received his gifts fully. Spiritual formation is learning the art of receiving.
As one of your pastors, I have often felt deficient in guiding our church into that art. In fact, I have sometimes let the gospel announcement of the work being done dissuade us from actively receiving what God has accomplished. In my zeal to declare, "It is finished!" I've wrongly communicated that we have nothing to do.
In truth, there is much to do! In the same way that children rush to tear open what is already theirs on Christmas morning, we have gifts to open from our Lord. These gifts were purchased long ago and laid out for us. They must be received and treasured, and in many cases, there is learning that must take place before the gifts can be fully enjoyed.
Children learn to ride bicycles or master the rules of new board games. We must learn to pray and to listen to God's voice and to walk with in him in the fullness of joy. We must learn to see others with the eyes of God, to think of our world with the mind of God, and to feel the friction of life with the heart of God.
I'll be going on four retreats and learning daily spiritual practices over the next year with those ends in mind. And I'm eager to pass along whatever I learn to all of you. Likewise, let me invite anyone who has learned to receive some gift from God to share that wisdom with our congregation. Speak of it in your community groups and over dinner tables and in times of prayer. None of us is beyond learning from any other person. We are all children, receiving together.
- Pastor Mark
If you are interested in donating meals to families with a newborn, here are the latest meal train links to participate!
Dan & Alice
THIS COMING SUNDAY
TO SUFFER WITH GOD
Pastor Mark Bergin
The word compassion means “to suffer with.” Compassionate people, then, are not those who merely express sentiments of care for the hurting, but rather those who step into that very hurt and sit alongside the wounded. It is quite easy to consider ourselves compassionate until we see compassion defined for the ages. Jesus left the glory of the heavens to sit in the mire of our broken world. He came to join us in all this pain. And for what purpose? It was not to prove himself compassionate. On the contrary, with disregard for his own reputation, he came to embody and minister a mysterious healing. He came to lead humanity to the shores of divinity. And to our awful surprise, divinity bore the shape of a cross.