“If we are to follow visions, we cannot be overconcerned with what the church is not doing. The very word “vision” implies grace — that which is not seen by ordinary eyes. The following of a vision, therefore, means a willingness to be out alone in a strange land, confident that God keeps us company there and with the faith that one day another will join us and then another, and a vision can be clothed, which means for all to see.”
– Elizabeth O’Connor, Call to Commitment (via inward/outward)
I’ve attempted to enter into different worlds to understand how others “see” their worlds and the world around them. Sometimes, I get the sense I do understand. Other times, I have to admit I may not have a clue. Now, when the angle is turned back on myself. .. the words above serve to comfort me especially when I’m feeling lost, discouraged or disappointed. If we’re in this (or whatever we believe is God’s call for us), then it’s for the long run and not for the faint hearted.
We’re also asked to pause when necessary especially when our vision is blurred to allow for refocusing on what’s most important. This would include capturing or recapturing some moments where we might have missed because most of us are in a hurry to reach the end. Most of us are simply in a hurry.
There are also a hundred and one distractions – which includes what O’Connor mentions above, “… what the church is not doing”. I’d include “.. what Christians are not doing.” When so much energy is tilted there, we become blind to what the church and Christians are doing (or at least trying to do). Some fit our expectations, many don’t. Then when was our expectations the standard to judge the rest? All of us need to humble ourselves for assessment.
Next week we will be celebrating our 7th Anniversary as Bangsar Lutheran Church (reborn in the year 2000!). This would be a good time also to help me mark my 10th year in pastoral ministry after graduating from seminary (of course, the specific date for BLC is April 1, and for me it’s January). But it’s a good time to look back and then pause before one looks forward.
It’s interesting that Elisabeth O’Connor’s quote above is helping me reorientated myself. Because amongst many of the influencers which has shaped me. I think I may have mentioned the Church of our Saviour the least on this blog. Interesting as we approach next Saturday, I’m drawn back to the wealth of wisdom and passion I’ve always found in their story, values, commitment and vision.