By Rev. Dan Morley, North District Superintendent
Okay, so we’re not in a car driving down the road, but rather a river… canoeing the Brule River in Wisconsin. This summer, my next older brother, Steve, and I canoed the Brule, a meandering river with many waters…shallow and deep; lazy and swift.
Steve, an experienced canoer, took the stern as the steer-person. I was in the bow as the first mate. There were many easy and relaxed miles on the river when we were free to spot bald eagles and osprey soaring above and diving for the catch. We watched for turtles surfacing and fish working their way upstream in what appeared to be an effortless and graceful way. We clumsily paddled downstream, with the current, and great effort.
We also entered white waters of roaring rapids. That’s when all attention needed to be given to the task. This part of the Brule did not have the top level 5 rapids, but it did have 3+ which challenged my ability to respond and maneuver, especially around the boulders just below the surface.
Though both Steve and I are rather gentle with our language, even when in intense situations, there were those occasional “Jesus” boulders which caught us by surprise. I had heard of these boulders and now realized why they bore the name of our Savior. However, I prefer to consider their name as a call to stay calm in troubled waters.
When I learned of the Lombard Mennonite Institute’s three-part call, I realize not only the application when in rapid river waters with a canoeing buddy, but also in the life of the church in these times. . .
- Stay calm
- Stay connected
- Stay on course
Steve and I needed to stay calm in the rapid waters so that we would think clearly, watch and notice all the signs of the river to find the best passage, but also so that we could hear one another. It is essential to stay connected to your canoeing buddy so that you are working together to maneuver the canoe safely and to get to where you want to go. And that is the third point — stay on course.
In a river, staying on course is it a bit more straightforward than in our ministry as disciples. A river has much more defined shoreline and clear direction of the waters which can simply carry us forward. Our Christian ministry requires us to keep our eye on the goal as we have received it through Christ. But that means we need to respectfully and calmly have a conversation about who we are and where we are going as we stay connected as a team, the Body of Christ.
Amazing how this three-part call leads one into the other, but then also back and around in a continual relationship. How do you see this three-part call working in your life and ministry?
Check out these resources and ideas — https://lmpeacecenter.org/