This photograph demonstrates the quality of irreproachable dignity and decorum that has been expected of every "minister's spouse" for decades. We are proud to represent such advanced social graces for the Presbyterian Church. Would you like some tea? (Our instructors couldn't quite pull off the "make a face" instruction!)
I enjoyed a positive experience this morning at the Montreat Conference Rebekah and I are attending. There are three groups meeting (I'm in the clergy spouse portion), but we all meet together for worship every morning.
Today my group took responsibility. Essentially, we kept to the simple format of:
- calling together
- being clear about our need to be in the presence of God
- singing songs of praise
- reading from scripture
- and an invitation to celebrate our faith with promise and purpose as we go out into the world.
Instead of a "sermon", several from our group read a passage of scripture, each offering just a few well-crafted sentences of introduction. The Word is powerful and compelling; it had a cumulative effect that was (and always is) uniquely moving.
Then I read a short passage from "The Unmaking of a Part-Time Christian" that told a little of my story with Rebekah as a "preacher's husband." The excerpt touched on the opportunity we have had to avoid the pitfalls of an expectation defined via restrictive stereotype.
God has so much more imagination and creativity than the limitations that are imposed by ideas such as prejudice, gender specific social norms, and "the way things are..."
So I was - as always - enthusiastic and positive about our life as "custodians of faith" in the context of the local Presbyterian Church. It's also been impossible to miss the fact that Rebekah is having a measurable impact on the folk in her study group - and we never engage in conversation at table, or around the coffee, or in the lobby during breaks, without communicating some of the passion and the vitality that we KNOW Jesus intends to introduce to every gathering in his name....
I didn't order any books to bring with me this week, I just had a handful in the back of the car. They sold out quickly nonetheless. I'm always surprised at how God uses even these unintended opportunities to move things forward, and to encourage both of us in significant ways.