It’s going to take a while for my identity to catch up with where I now find myself. This picture of me is of me sitting at my new desk at St. Albert Alliance Church, where I am the new Pastor for community life and missions.
It has been a strange journey.
You might have noticed that I haven’t been writing my reflections for a while. That has been largely due to the fact that I just have not felt I have had the words to communicate what has been happening in our lives. I haven’t had the words to make sense of the journey.
For so long our commitment to what we believe God is asking of us has been expressed in our ministry with Fusion. Since 1992 I have been traveling a journey with a bunch of very special people, doing remarkable things and enjoying the adventure. I still love everything that Fusion is when its at its best, but for a while we have been sensing that God is preparing us for something else.
Regular readers of Faith Reflections would have picked up that the last four years have not been simple ones. I must admit though that I have grown over the last four years much more than at any other time of my life.
I am really appreciating getting to know Jeremy, the Senior Pastor at our church. He is quite different to me, and I can already tell that my emerging friendship with him is going to be important. He is quite focussed on learning to listen for Jesus’s voice, which I love but can tend to want to get on with things.
A good friend of mine gave me John Eldridges’ Walking with God a few years ago, and back then as I read it, I found it very hard to engage with – it seemed quite “airy fairy”. When Jeremy mentioned that the church had been really finding the book helpful my initial reaction was “Seriously?” but I figured I better give it another shot.
Strange how it works but its like I’m reading a different book. I’m currently in St. Louis to do some training for a group down here who are wanting to reach out to their community, and on the plane down I found myself engaging with the book and finding that it was helping me make sense of a lot of things.
One section in particular helped me see God’s hand more clearly in the last few years. Eldridge writes:
“The sorrows of our lives are in great part his weaning process. We give our hearts over to so many things other than God. We look to so many other things for life. I know I do. Especially the very gifts that he himself gives to us-they become more important to us than he is. That’s not the way it is supposed to be. As long as our happiness is tied to the things we can lose, we are vulnerable.”
Later he writes:
And so God must, from time to time, and sometimes very insistently, disrupt our lives so that we release our grasping of life here and now. Usually through pain. God is asking us to let go of the things we love and have given our hearts to, so that we can give our hearts even more fully to him.
And one sentence in particular hit me:
He thwarts us in our attempts to make life work so that our efforts fail, and we must face the fact that we don’t really look to God for life.
I have quoted Mother Theresa a number of times:
Many people mistake our work for our vocation. Our vocation is the love of Jesus
I have been joking that becoming a Pastor feels like I have crossed to the dark side, but so far the view from this side is not much different than the view from anywhere else. As I find myself in a new environment, working with new people I can see that God is at work in my life to help me realise what is actually important… A job matters, but the motivation matters far more.