The Way Ahead

Wildlife tracks on a snowy bridge

We are about to start a God-journey together that we each and all begin with hopes and ideas — yet none of us knows ahead of time what the outcome really will be. We set out in faith. For this journey we all need to have faith that God will be in the journey and process with us, you (CCC) have to have some faith in what I do, and I have to choose to believe you are serious about making the journey.

The way ahead is somewhat like the bridge in the picture above. It is hard to tell if it is safe and it will hold should we try to walk across. We also don’t know where it leads.

I took that picture in Moorecroft United Church camp (now Moorecroft Regional Park) on Vancouver Island when a rare snow fell. For a time I was their resident chaplain and caretaker of the 80 acre ocean-front property with four distinct ecosystems.

What we need in the times CCC is in is the ability to gain birds eye, or as close to God’s eye height — perspective — that we can. Often this is also called “getting on the balcony.” But we tend to be so caught up in the anxieties of day-to-day survival that we can’t pause and even imagine “thrival.” In such a state we definitely are not able to fully gain a Heaven’s eye view. Doing our exploring and reflecting prayerfully and with trust in our “Higher Power” (in our case the God of Christian Scripture) can get us in touch with that perspective.

I witnessed this struggle firsthand as I worked with the board of Moorecroft Camp to try gain a new vision while they were bogged down in a rut of “survival” from which they were not able to rise and eventually the camp property was sold to become a preserve.

Below are two pictures of a Canada Goose I took while on a walk near Lethbridge. You can’t tell from the picture, but the stump it was on was about 4 meters in the air! I wondered how it managed to land on it. It was standing there squawking and looking around, and to me is not only an interesting picture and incident, but represents the kind of trying to rise above and gain realistic perspective required in STM transitional work. Part of my role is to get up on that stump regularly and help you see what I see that you might not be seeing.

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I am chosing to trust God’s guidance as we cross whatever bridges are presented to us in the journey. Please join me in that.

Shalom and Serenity, 

Pastor Pete

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4 thoughts on “The Way Ahead

  1. HI Pastor Pete, Welcome aboard! Your first sermon today was an interesting one, right off the bat. Your question about ‘why do you come to worship’ and the perspective I heard you share, was that people come to be in God’s presence and learn how to better serve others. This caught me by surprise. My initial reaction was that people come on Sunday to be in God’s presence as well as to receive their weekly dose of spiritual sustenance. Then we somehow find a way to translate that into our daily lives throughout the week, including how to better serve others. It has certainly got me thinking on how to ‘worship differently’, and I thank you and the Lord for that!

    I also got a kick out of your Goose Church story today. Thanks for that too. 🙂

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    1. Thanks for commenting Audrey. I really enjoy hearing how the sermon triggered perceptions and thoughts for folks.
      I would say that “come to be in God’s presence and learn to serve” is pretty close to “come into God’s presence as well as receive their weekly dose…” The fine tuning I would offer on your hearing of the first one is that it is about serving God (more so than serving others – which might include serving others, but not necesarily). To the second I say notice how it contains the thought/implication of “what do I get out of being in God’s presence?” I wonder: Could it be that coming into God’s presence — or God coming into ours — changes us more into God’s image and Christ-likeness somehow so that we are more able and willing to ‘fly’?
      The First Goose Church story is exacly a way of holding up a seemingly ‘safe’ mirror of what our church reality is without stinging too strongly. It is intended to raise the thought: what if that is exactly what we do? Get all excited about the call to ‘fly’ and then waddle home. How disappointing to God would that be?

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  2. I too enjoyed the sermon yesterday. It made me wonder what traditions we might be harbouring that may stand between us and true worship. We tend to be semi-liturgical in our approach to the order of service, with lots of room for variation. I asked around a bit after the service but we could not identify any non- negotiable practises. But maybe that is because we are too close to it. It will be interesting to see what you perceive as a new Pastor coming into our situation.
    Blessings,
    Bill

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    1. Thanks for hearing some of what I was getting at Bill. You are correct that often we are too close to the practices that actually interfere with entering God’s presence, so we can’t see them. There are many non-negotiable practices that can still be done in a meaningless way, making them a barrier. Even attending out of habit rather than eagerness to encounter and be changed by God’s gospel could be part of the challenge!

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