It’s an Important Question.
What do you do when you are aware that life is going to change dramatically? How do you prepare the family for such an event? If you are moving across country, I suppose you could call a family meeting and talk about that – listen to the concerns – grieve a little – dream about the future together. But what if you knew that the changes ahead involved things you couldn’t fully anticipate?
In Matthew 16 Jesus asked his followers, “Who do you say that I am?” They made their guesses and then Peter said that Jesus was the messiah. It might sound like a random question – or a question asked to see if the disciples had any inkling about who it was they walked with every day. Sometimes I think it really is a much deeper question than what it looks like on the surface.
The very next section in Matthew 16 begins with the words, “from that time on – (my words) Jesus began to prepare his disciples for his death.”
The question of identity is an important one. When you know who you are it makes it possible to stand up and face the world, come what may. When you know who you are, when changes come you are able to face them with an inner strength, not shaken by what the change is. When you know who you are, you stand on solid ground, not shifting sand. It is a place of grace and faith and stability.
This year, as I meet with churches for a Congregational Meeting, I will be asking the question about identity as it applies to your local church. At your deepest level, as a community of faith, who do you say that you are? We meet knowing that we are in a very holy time. General Conference 2019 is over and General Conference 2020 is a few short months away. What will happen no one knows for sure. How it will impact the larger church are only guesses at this point. Worry about all of that will not help us. Let’s focus our attention on what will help – knowing who we are.
During this sacred time we are called upon to be the people of God, at our very best. Our identity shapes everything about who we are and what we do. Let us prepare for this conversation with faith and joy.
May I ask you to pray the following prayer daily, as we prepare to meet together:
Creator of love and life, as we prepare for our Church Conference we pray to you for wisdom, for a listening heart, for the flourishing of Christ’s holy church in this place, for the increase in our love for others in the name of Christ, and for the light of Christ to shine brightly in this local community to folks who may never enter our doors. This I pray with a humble heart. Amen and amen.
I look forward to talking with you soon.
Peace be with you.