The days are jammed pack with a variety of
activities from sunrise to sunset.
Thus far, some of us have painted a jungle gym at a
local elementary school, while the rest of us play
with children from the community, teaching them life
lessons through drama, crafts, and storytelling.
Despite long hours in the sun and a few unexpected
changes in the schedule, our students have been
flexible and have embraced the changes well.
Did I mention we have great students?
I would be lying to you if I said it was difficult
to see the love of God here. Everywhere I look there
is something reminding me of just how near God is in
to us. These students are not only embodying the
love of God through the way they are caring for this
community, but also in the way they articulate their
understanding and awareness of God in their lives.
Already they've reminded me that we all have unique
gifts and these gifts need to be shared. They have
reminded me that ministry that the mission of God,
is about relationships. That the incarnation, God
putting on human flesh, is not a theological
doctrine but a way of life and being in the world.
In subtle ways, this group of self-proclaimed
introverts have showed me how fear can be conquered
and what John meant in 1 John when he wrote, "There
is no fear in love..."
It is easy to get caught up in the details of
life...and ministry. You know, dotting all the i's,
crossing all the t's, making sure this door is
locked, and double checking that we haven't doubled
booked our calendars, or our kitchens, because if we
have, well, some explaining will need to happen.
What I am learning is this week as a pastor while
watching our students is that ministry requires
flexibility and creativity. Ministry and life are at
their best when we live into our story and into the
story of those around us. Our ministry and our lives
make more sense and come to life when we worry less
about whether we should use pen or pencil, Arial or
Times New Roman font, and focus more on telling our
story--that age old story of how God loves us.
Because God does. And God's love invites
response. These students are responding
enthusiastically and with much joy. Sure, you can
say it is because they are young or you can
celebrate their visions of hope and share in the
journey with them.
Friends, these students aren't the future of the
church. No, rather, they ARE the church. They are as
much of the body as the wisest among us. They are
the vision crafters, the dreamers, the movers and
the shakers; they are the voice of renewal and hope.
They are the hands and the feet of Jesus.
Which is a good thing, because God knows, Christ has
no body on earth now but ours.
And these students, they continue to look through
lenses of compassion; the same compassion with which
Christ gazes at us.
[Adam Quine pastor of First Presbyterian Church