I love Brian McLaren’s phrase, “Alive in the Adventure of Jesus.” His use of the word of alive makes me think of having a faith that is breathing and dynamic … a faith that is growing and active. Each quarter’s theme and chapters main point includes the word alive.
In considering the Christmas story, McLaren has emphasized: “To be alive in the adventure of Jesus is to have a desire, a dream, a hope for the future. It is to translate that hope for the future into action in the present and to keep acting in light of it, no matter the disappointments, no matter the set backs and delays. That is what it means to be alive in the adventure of Jesus. We present ourselves to God ~ our bodies, our stories, our futures, our possibilities, even our limitations. To be alive in the adventure of Jesus is to kneel at the manger and gaze upon that little baby who is radiant with so much promise for our world today. “
Pairing the word of alive with adventure, makes it all the more dynamic and exciting. I enjoy an adventure. I bought my kayak from a place called “Next Adventure”, which keeps putting before me the reminder that there is a new experience to be had and a new place to be explored. Even the same paddle changes each time I embark on it; the conditions change along with the scenery and wildlife. As we begin exploring the life and ministry of Jesus, we will be challenged to go from sideline observers to active participants. McLaren states, “Our exploration will lead to this life-changing choice: will we identify ourselves as honest and sincere followers of Jesus today?”
To say yes, will be an adventure indeed. I must admit, being part of the adventure is often exciting but includes some uneasiness. As much as I like exploring the new, I also like knowing what is coming, I like to plan and have a certain amount of control. Somehow, control and adventure rarely go together. Being alive in the adventure will mean getting comfortable with the unknown and trusting where God will be leading. The good news is none of us are in this adventure alone. We walk the road together and we walk the road with Jesus.
Blessings, Pastor Wendy
Dear Members and Friends of Morningside UMC:
We are fast approaching the day we celebrate the “Wondrous Promise” of this season. The promise of peace, hope, joy and love made known to us in the birth of Jesus. This “Wondrous Promise” is not limited to a birth that happened over 2,000 years ago or even just the moment we light our candles on Christmas Eve and embrace the gift in all its fullness.
The “Wondrous Promise” is that Jesus is born into our hearts and into our lives throughout our journeys of faith. With the gift of the birth of Jesus, we are reminded that God is with us through the years, throughout each day and moment and not simply when we light our candle singing “Silent Night.” Roberta Porter captures this in her poem, “Promised One.”
Word of God
from the beginning
creator with God,
Hope of God
foretold by prophets,
speaking for God,
Life of God,
earth-held for a time
Jesus: Emmanuel, God-with-Us,
the promised revealed,
It is my prayer that we will open our hearts and lives to Jesus’ birth all of our days. It is my prayer that we will live and share this gift day in and day out as we have opportunities to share a word of grace, lend a helping hand and give of our resources. This year our Christmas offering will support Congregations Helping People and Imagine No Malaria. Your gift may be given during the services on Dec. 21, 24 and 28 or mailed to the church.
Christmas Blessings, Pastor Wendy
Our yearlong quest for spiritual formation, reorientation, and activation using Brian McLaren’s book We Make the Road by Walking moves from Alive in the Story of Creation to Alive in the Adventure of Jesus. From our first quarter I continue to contemplate the wonder of creation andof humanity being created in God’s image and how we are called to be image bearers of God inour daily walks of faith. I also reflect upon the growing and developing relationship that the people had with God. Sometimes they understood and shared about the God who revealed being “slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love”, other times they spoke of a God of violence and struggled as they broke covenant with God and one another. Yet God continued to reach out in covenant relationship.
As we turn to our second quarter, Alive in the Story of Jesus, we will continue to see God reaching out in covenant relationship. God reaches out through the words of the prophets, through the promises and births of John the Baptist and Jesus, and through the various people who found their spirits come alive as they came to know Jesus. It is fascinating to consider the range of those who were touched by Jesus’ life: the shepherds in the field, the wise men, Simeon and Anna in the temple, the disciple who answered the call to follow and those who Jesus fed, touched, healed, accepted, forgave who included Jews, Gentiles, men, women, children, the respected in society and the outcast of society, the “clean and the unclean”, the friend and the stranger.
We will have the opportunity to contemplate how we are Alive in the Story of Jesus. Do we allow our spirits to be touched by his birth? Do we allow our lives to be influenced by his call? Are we willing to reach out to those he reached out to? Are we willing to become alive in our faith in new ways as we hear once again the stories of the birth and life of Jesus.It is a road we are not meant to walk alone ~ this journey into the life of Jesus ~ this road we walk called faith. Come share in worship during the seasons of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany. Join the discussions that are happening, you are welcome to join one of the small groups at any time. See the schedule for December in this newsletter. Together may we Make the Road by Walking and Come Alive in the Adventure of Jesus.