My flock and I have been experimenting a little lately with “mutual mentoring” – something that Paul’s theology of the church says we ought to be good at. Reprising Eugene Peterson’s “Five Smooth Stones for Pastoral Work” as a framework, we use the Revised Common Lectionary, our source for Sunday’s readings, as a guide to reflect on how together we make stories, build community, share pain, direct prayer and nay-say. On the first Sunday of the month, we use “sermon-time” to share our stories and reflections and receive our fresh printed guide for the coming month. This morning was our third attempt, and by George, we got it! Reflecting on January’s Epiphany stories, we had been looking to be aware of how the presence of God was manifested in the ordinary, and particularly in the stories of Jesus’ growing awareness and announcement of his mission mandate to bring humanity to wholeness.
Some of what we heard from within our small 60 strong multi-generational congregation
- our Peruvian contact deploying the resources of their tourism business to bring relief and aid to hundreds of remote villagers whose livelihood and houses have been destroyed by mudslides
- a young lad who volunteers at a farm school “knowing himself to be close to God when he’s with the animals.”
- folk who, in seeking accommodation and relocating living quarters, discovered fresh connections to their vocations
- a couple sharing fifty years of marriage in celebration
- the trials, tribulations and joys of building community in a retirement village setting
As Epiphany comes to its climax and we prepare to begin the Lenten journey to Good Friday and Resurrection, this morning demonstrated to us all what strength there is in sharing our journeys of faith in the supportive setting of Sunday morning worship. The buzz over coffee and wedding anniversary cake afterwards suggests that stories continue to be shared and made.