Yesterday, I concluded my sermon with, “if we pay attention to where the Spirit has come alive, we will know exactly where God wants us to be.” So today, I’m wondering how good we are at paying attention in general and to God’s activity in particular.
In our story from Acts 15, Paul shared how the Spirit had come to the gentiles of the regions well away from the heart of Judaism in Jerusalem. Their lives were already being transformed by the power of God’s love as inspired by the story of Jesus, his teachings, his love for neighbor and concern for the marginalized, and his ultimate self-sacrifice. This transformation wasn’t happening because they were obedient to the laws of Moses, they knew very little of these laws. They did know what it meant to feed the hungry, welcome the stranger, comfort the afflicted, and raise up the powerless. They experienced God’s grace in tangible, life-giving ways. Their understanding of what it meant to be claimed, gathered, and sent by God came in a completely new way. (See what I did there?)
Paul was paying attention to how and where God was at work in the communities to which he was bringing the Gospel message. The council at Jerusalem paid attention to Paul and the other apostles as they passionately described what was happening and they acted in response to support this new vision for mission. So how can we do the same?
As a pastor and partner in our shared ministries as Prince of Peace, I try to take note of where passion and energy cross paths with the deep needs of our community. This should be the work of our council as well as, on behalf of the congregation they represent, we support this passion and meet these needs in service to the parts of God’s world for which we are responsible. These are the places where God’s Spirit will be most present. Finding these intersections of passion and need will continue to be the source of creating the kind of transformation that God has in mind for each of us.
So where are we doing this right? Where are the places we’re getting it wrong? If you have thoughts on this you’d like to share, know that you’re always welcome to share them with me or any other member of our church council. Connect with us here.
May God’s peace find you this day. -Pastor Peter
Let us pray:
Gracious God, help us to pay attention. Through your Spirit, shine a light on the places where our passions meet the needs of this world and inspire us to respond. We pray for the leaders of your church as they work in service of your transforming vision, through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior. Amen.