Crossing Boulevard

with Rev. Rachel

1 IN DAYS TO COME    - Isaiah 2

Mentor-covenant groups are part of the ordination process here in Virginia. I convene one group in accordance with the framework supplied by the Office of Clergy Excellence. I am healthier for having committed to this crew.

A participant said something beautiful, last time; which is not to suggest that this never happens. W e were gathered in one participant’ s home, receiving a ministry report (case study), when the presenter described a dynamic in his current setting. “She preaches with a focus on who is there and I preach with an eye on who isn’t there.”  Read that again. I’ll call him Jack. Jack put into words an important distinction. Those of us in that living room seemed to want a moment to see if it trued with experiences in our own ministries. You could feel the import of his insight.  Here’s the thing, the thing that I know Jack knows: God is in both. The Bible lends itself to both. There is a scriptural basis to preach to who is in the room and there is a scriptural mandate to focus on who is has yet to harken the doors. God calls God’s people to care for the particular and the universal.

Look no further than Psalm 122 and Isaiah 2. In the Psalm, one people make the ascent and the ascent is for the one people’s well-being. In Isaiah all the nations ascend in order to receive instructions for universal flourishing. We are asked to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and to stream, alongside of other nations, to Zion.

“I’d like to hear a sermon that wrestles with these two visions,” writes one seminary professor. [Am I allowed to say “fat chance”?] “On the one hand, I love to celebrate being at home in worship with fellow Lutherans. On the other hand, God has established the Church to serve in God’s universal mission (H.Langknecht).”

Sigh. I’ll give it what I’ve got, trusting in the possibility that others are willing to wrestle. Notice that I did not end that sentence with “me”. Wrestling with our heritage and our hope, in the name of a faithful Advent: Let’s do this.

UncategorizedRachel May