Monday thoughts from Texas
Hello from Plano, Texas! I’m here this week for the annual synod of the Diocese of the Holy Spirit (which is the diocese in which I am “canonically resident”) and then for the Anglican1000 Summit, a meeting of church planters from all across the country. In addition to eating some fantastic Texas chili, I’m having a great time hearing about the work that God is doing in churches all across the country… and sharing what he’s doing at Restoration, too!
In lots of ways, Sunday’s worship exemplified much of what God is doing in and through our church:
- True worship – Andrew invited us to ask ourselves what God asked Elijah: “What are you doing here?” And Matt led us in music that answered that question: joyfully praising the God of glory and love, declaring that we’d rather spend one day in God’s presence than countless others anywhere else.
- Faithful leadership – David introduced and prayed for our vestry, the nine faithful men and women who provide spiritual leadership our congregation. Please pray for them as they continue to discern God’s vision for our church!
- Joyful community – Yet again, the pews were packed, and it was so encouraging to see relationships being formed and deepened in this community that God has called together. Just a note to those who thought there was a little too much community at 11:00: Come at 9:00! There’s a little more elbow room!
- Volitional sadness – It’s a little different from the other things on this list, but the title of David’s sermon captures the compelling, upside-down reality of the gospel. It’s by choosing to mourn — to enter into the places of our deepest hurt and sadness — that we find the blessing of Jesus’ comfort.
I do want to add a counterpoint, though, to the idea of the value of volitional sadness. Entering into sadness isn’t always a good thing. For those who struggle with depression — and we are many — sadness is sometimes a place of stagnation or suffocation rather than of growth. So if you are someone dealing with depression, I want you to hear this: it can be just as faithful for you to seek and experience Jesus’ healing from your sadness as it can be for someone else to seek to enter into theirs. It’s part of why I’m so grateful that God knows the needs of each of our hearts and meets us exactly where we are.
Where are you? And how is God meeting you there?
January 25, 2011 @ 3:13 pm
In the small group I attend, someone asked a great question: “How is it that Jesus comforts us when we mourn? How does he give us rest?” It is such an important question. Because the answer is, Jesus comforts us by giving us Himself. When we come to Him heavy laden, He gives us His presence. When we choose to mourn the brokenness we have experienced, He gives us His presence. It is not a program or a plan (although these can be good), it is Him.