Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Revealing tears . . .
Sunday was an emotional day for the congregation I partner with . . . through the coaching in our intentional transformational process I am being challenged to step out of my comfort zone as a preacher . . . it is funny, I had no problem with doing this weekly in the contemporary Worship at the last church I partnered with, but here I have not been comfortable stepping out of that zone . . . yet, when I do the congregation, as a whole, responses well . . . this is an issue I will need to work on.
But yesterday I did step out of that zone . . . the service was built around Psalm 46 . . . the sermon was interactive . . . giving the congregation (almost the normal number of Worshippers) opportunities to ask some probing questions about their recent experiences . . . I was fearful that they wouldn't respond, but they did . . . emotionally . . . powerfully . . . it began slowly . . . people were hesitant . . . the words came . . . the emotions opened . . . first, a few dabbing eyes . . . then tears flowing . . . even one man breaking down . . . the most unlikely man.
As I have thought about the experience I realize that the words and the tears were revealing . . . what they revealed to me . . . we are just beginning to deal with the emotional and spiritual scars of Katrina . . . I thought we had, we haven't . . . my guess is that many people haven't . . . perhaps Gustav opened us to beginning to deal with those scars.
And those scars are tied to the process of transformational ministry . . . this will never be the congregation it was before Katrina . . . I had only been here for about 6 weeks before Katrina . . . since Katrina this smaller membership church has lost close to 20% of our membership . . . most of them were the "workers" . . . several of them were the spiritual giants of the church . . . but more than losing those I look in our community and see the brokenness . . . a yearning for wholeness and healing . . . a yearning for Jesus . . . it provides us an opportunity to live the Great Commission . . . will we be able to use our own brokenness to reach out to others . . . will we use the safety and comfort we find in community to offer the same to those who are facing the storms of life . . . there are so many out there.
I am preaching today at a governing body meeting . . . the sermon title "Living the Great Commission" . . . we look at our denomination and mourn our losses . . . perhaps we need to look at the world and mourn those who don't know Jesus . . . we look at our denomination and wonder what we can do . . . perhaps we need to look at the world and wonder where is God calling us to be the Church.
Tears reveal a lot about us . . ."Jesus wept." John 11:35