It is good to be back among you all as we enter the latter part of summer. Again, I cannot express enough gratitude for the prayers, meals, time, space, and continued ministry that allowed me to have precious time with my family. Special thanks to Pastor Barbara for not just filling a pulpit, but becoming a true part of this community over the past 12 weeks. We are already looking forward to having her back in the future, including this November when I am traveling.
There are many areas of ministry that I am excited about as we head toward the fall. In preparation for my return, I’ve identified several focus areas to guide my own work as I try to “keep the main thing the main thing” amidst a fuller schedule. One of those areas is deepening spiritual connection for resilience. I’ve made it most of the way through Rainn Wilson’s (yes, Dwight Schrute’s) new book Soul Boom, which makes a compelling case for the spiritual and religious life.
Among many other salient points, Wilson reminds readers that the root of the word religion comes from the Latin that means “to bind” or “fasten together.” There is ancient wisdom in recognizing that the spiritual journey need not, or perhaps cannot, be a solitary one. Connecting to our Higher Power (the Notorious G.O.D., as he calls it) and to others as we grow and serve is essential, and the religions of the world—for all their many faults—have kept this in sight throughout the ages.
This coming month in worship, we’ll be looking at some old, old stories: the follies of the Genesis patriarchs, some accompanying psalms, and a verse from Jeremiah that encourages us to seek the good way amidst the crossroads of life. We look back not to escape the demands of the present, but because it is a fool’s errand to face them without the wisdom God and our spiritual ancestors have handed down. After all, no one knows better than a limping Jacob that the struggle (for life and blessing) is real.