I like adventure. I am ready and willing to launch off onto most any new journey.
In her high school years, my youngest daughter and I were a part of a venture crew. Our crew of high school girls and boys dreamed and planned our risky and daring ventures months ahead.
One of our main ventures was to make the summit of Mt Shavano — a fourteener peak in the Rockies. It required us not only to plan travel to the base but also get our bodies ready for the climb. We hiked mountain trails around Flagstaff and down into the Grand Canyon as we experienced our limits, expanded our endurance, prepared for altitude, and practiced support of each other as a team.
Since this was the first time for any of us to attempt this journey, we needed a guide to keep us safe, on course, and opening our eyes to the sites around us. Because of our guide, we had the confidence to accomplish our venture. When we reached the summit, as we were enjoying the magnificent view of the seemingly endless peaks of the Rockies reaching westward, our guide called us to gather for a quick pic and then moved us quickly down the peak. He was able to see a July storm rapidly forming and we needed to move to a lower elevation. As we moved down the steep peak, snow began flurrying around us and the winds became very strong.
As our experienced guide kept us safe on our descent during the storm, he gathered us together to point out the snow angel with wings stretched across the immense valley between the neighboring peaks. He let us know that centuries ago pioneers traversing these mountains saw the snow angel as a reminder that they were not alone. They were given courage as they acknowledged that the Lord was with them along the venture.
We, the people of the United Methodist Church, the Desert Southwest Conference, and our local churches, are in the midst of a venture. It is risky and uncertain. We do not know what tomorrow will bring. A significant challenge for us is that we do not have a guide who has been on this journey and fully knows the way. We are needing to discover and discern the way as we move forward together.
And this is what gives us courage, strength, and hope — TOGETHER, we are discovering and discerning the way forward. We value how the Spirit moves through every one of Christ’s disciples and we look to each other as agents of God’s movement who dream, inspire, and are a part of the discernment of our way forward.
Though we may get anxious and uncertain of the future for our United Methodist Church, we remember that we are a people of Christ who reminds us that the Holy Spirit is with us always (John 14). The Holy Spirit is our guide who knows the way. Let us have the compassionate courage to see, hear, experience, and follow the Spirit into a new future.
Venturing in Christ,
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North District September Prayer Focus:
Campus Ministry, UNLV, Las Vegas, NV (Pastor Samara Jenkins)
Campus Ministry, NAU, Flagstaff, AZ (Rev. Kathleen Day)