“I am not afraid of storms,
for I am learning to sail my ship.”
~ Louisa May Alcott
Grace and peace to you,
Central Methodist Mission is a beautiful place. I remember sitting in this sanctuary just before taking my first appointment as a solo pastor. I sat listening to Dana Cunningham’s piano music playing softly through the speakers and I felt so held by God in this space. The prayer I was praying all the way back in 2010 was that God might deliver a Scripture that would guide my leadership in the years ahead. The Scripture that was delivered was the text of Jesus walking out on the water. Churches like Central Methodist Mission that were built in the gothic tradition hold secrets in the ceiling. In all of them captured above is the hull of a boat, which is the symbol of the Church in mission to the world.
So many times the Church gets things wrong as we stretch beyond the boundaries of our front doors, but there is not a perfect science in the ways we are called to be alive and living in love in the world. We are just to be. It is what I call a bumble into beauty when we get it right. So often, in our passion, we seek to charge out on our own and lead and I would share that things that have real life, that offer real love, have a beautiful way of sustaining themselves if and when we should ever leave. This is why I always encourage beautiful ones with dreams to gather together in twos and threes, so that the dreams they dream have wings to fly like the symbol of the resurrection – the butterfly.
There is a sense I feel that this congregation like many others around the world is called to lead out in the waters of change that we are walking upon. There is strong leadership for the year ahead, Alan’s preaching is beyond what many can see and imagine, but leads to a place of truth that the foundations of what we know in this generation are shaking. I can’t imagine what Peter must have been thinking when he took that first step out upon the sea, but I can imagine it was a combination of fear and excitement. There before him was Jesus beckoning him, “Come.”
I always wonder whether Peter was a little hasty. Maybe he was never supposed to leave the boat that Jesus put him in. Maybe he was to learn how to live with courage, faith, and hope with those he was charged to serve with. The boat is always charged to leave the shores to the other side. Without stepping foot on the shores that are not ours, we don’t have a picture of the world we need to see clearly. Without hearing the cries of the people who are around the corner, but out of sight, we lose understanding of the way we are called to live.
Sailing is no easy thing. It takes skill, practice, and an ability to gauge the clip of the wind. Winds and waves have always threatened, but when two or three gather together in prayer, the Holy Spirit delivers the dream, guides the boat, and opens the sails in order that the Church might be a vessel of change in the world – guiding others towards the way that leads to life, love, peace, and transformation.
With you on the journey, Michelle