Alrighty boys and girls, here are some thoughts bouncing around the grey matter inside the dome of my head.
The Living Streams family seems to be in a season of fragility. This is not to say Living Streams people are weak, dainty, or delicate. No way, Living Streams people are mighty. The fragility I am hearing about from others and noticing in myself is more like what happens after someone has undergone surgery.
When I tore my calf muscle last year I was amazed at how sensitive it was to any and all stress. Not only was it sensitive, but it was constantly at risk of a re-tear in the process of healing. My calf muscle went through a season of fragility as it recovered to full strength. (At least full 41-year-old strength.)
Over the past few months we have invited the Spirit of God to do spiritual surgery on us. Our sermon series “Origins of Innocence” was intended to challenge our core understandings about life and love and God and why. Our sermon series “Home Full of Hope” was intended to help us become aware of the negative strongholds in our past and present household context. Our season of “fasting and prayer” was intended to remove the spiritual ‘blocks’ that could be keeping us from having hearts full of hope. And last weekend’s “Freedom Immersion” retreat was basically two days of focused distilling and deepening of the last three months of Living Streams’ teachings and prayers.
In Galatians 5, Paul the apostle is writing to a church in the region of Galatia. He is trying to help them understand what it is like to live in the fullness and freedom that the Spirit of the Living God can bring. In the Message Translation, he describes it as a “satisfying relationship with the Spirit.” Paul tells the Galatian church that their conscientious religious efforts or their conscientious disregard for religious effort does not bring about a “satisfying relationship with the Spirit” of God. What really matters and brings satisfaction is, “faith expressed in love.”
So, to conclude this weekly email I want to summon all of my pastoral powers and call our entire church to a season of tenderness. Or as Otis Redding would say, “All you gotta do is try, try a little tenderness, ooh yeah…” I want us to recognize those around us may be feeling fragile as they have surrendered their hearts and minds to the Great Physician. I want us to express our faith in Christ by loving one another and to express our love for one another by showing tenderness to each other. And some of us need to remember to show a little tenderness to our own hearts and souls as God takes us from surgery, through therapy, and finally to wholeness and strength.
The Scripture prophecies about Jesus that, “a bruised reed He would not break and a smoldering wick He would not put out.” Let’s do what it means to be a Christian and follow His lead.
Meanwhile we expectantly wait for a satisfying relationship with the Spirit. For in Christ, neither our most conscientious religion nor disregard of religion amounts to anything. What matters is something far more interior: faith expressed in love. Galatians 5 - Message Translation