i's & t's

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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 in Lincoln]


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