Thursday, February 5, 2015

Week of February 1, 2015

A shift's on the horizon for New Kirk Presbyterian.  What kind of shift?  What do you mean?  Honestly, I'm not quite sure.

I lean upon my last post here and that discovery in prayer.  For New Kirk, there is an eternal fountain welling up collectively in our soul.  It's almost like we've got a sense of something, like we know something as absolutely real, though the season is yet ripe for it to materialize.  Oh, but something's ripening!
Sounds familiar, right (Hebrews 11.1)?  In the last post, I shared about a new way in prayer for me: a way of turning my intention to that place of potential that is pre-place, pre-concept, pre-actualized and keeping the mind there.  Keeping the mind there means avoiding the tendency to plot and plan out the way we "know" it typically goes with things.  Rather, we live in the potential preceding all things, waiting upon the Lord (Isaiah 40.21-31).

It seems prudent to bridle the mind and pull the bit in order to keep from anticipating, guessing, or "knowing" how things will play out for New Kirk Presbyterian in the future.  Note God's timing in things.  Ash Wednesday (February 18) kicks off Lent for churches following the liturgical year.  Lent is a time of getting one's spiritual house in order.  Most folk think of giving up something for Lent, as do traditional practicing Roman Catholics who eat meat only on Fridays during the season.  The fast--giving up something--is designed to clear the soul for taking on something, actually: and that something is a more focused, disciplined way of discipleship.  From Ash Wednesday to Easter is a forty-day stretch.  That's Lent.  In that light, we revisit the shift on the horizon for us.

We will worship in an Ash Wednesday service on February 18.  We, along with the whole church around the world, will remember that "from dust you came and to dust you shall return"(Genesis 3.19Ecclesiastes 3.20).  Off the momentum of this liturgical call to penance, Session will consider a plan for New Kirk Presbyterian to collectively ask herself, "What will we do with the days with which God gifts us?"  Two Biblical stories come to mind here: 2 Kings 20.1-11Jonah 3.  Given that we are Christ's body in the world and that our primary purpose--for the sake of which we've lost our lives (Mark 8.35)--is to follow Christ in following God (John 5.19), it seems the only way through this Spirit-driven, forty-day journey in the wilderness is WATCHFUL PRAYER.  It's the way faithful disciples have always put the spiritual house in order (Matthew 9.35-10.15Luke 10.38-42).

Under this new plan, New Kirk Presbyterian would shift into being a house of prayer.  Throughout the month of March, worship would revolve around this Lenten theme, inviting NKP to ask herself prayerfully before God particularly about her call to Blythewood, Richland County, South Carolina, and to the whole world.  To do this, we must create sacred space.  In a nutshell, that space would look something like this:

  • Symbolically mark the beginning of this season of penance; this time of honest inquiry; this time of challenge and new direction.
  • Balance worship on this very fulcrum of faithful, watchful prayer and putting the house in order.
  • Take inventory of our discipleship
    • Offer a Curiosity Course for those inquiring about becoming new members.
    • Offer Wednesdays of Worship (WOW) as an opportunity for disciples to grow.
    • Openly acknowledge our challenges, but invite committees to present their plan for facing these challenges to the congregation and, thereby, invite each member to find their place amid those ministries.
  • Make a 40-day commitment towards watchful prayer
    • Open the sanctuary M-F from 12pm-1pm for a staff-led, daily prayer service with lots of silence and space for folks to pray as they see fit.
    • Invite the congregation to commit to watchful prayer at home.
We would follow this course through until Easter.  Easter Sunrise Service would entail completing the symbolic marker, new members joining during the 10:30am service, and, hopefully, recommitted disciples ready to rededicate their work and worship to God here at NKP.

Again, I'm not quite sure how the shift will actually look.  What matters now is that there's a shift coming!  I'll wait upon the Lord (Psalm 46.10) in that place of sheer potential where faith belongs and action's born (James 1.5-8; 2.14-26).

I saw on Google the other day that it was Langston Huges' birthday.  English 111 introduced me to a poem of his that has been burnt into my psyche from first reading.  It's still relevant in many ways but definitely as I spend time in watchful prayer:

A Dream Deferred

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?

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