Season 10 - Week 3
“A breath of new life”
I don’t know about you, but I find myself least creative when I’m worn out, run down and stretched thin. I confess, when my schedule fills up and the crowds demand my attention, my devotional time is often the first to go. I hope I’m not the only one. Actually, I know I’m not.
In the Gospel of Matthew, there are constant demands upon Jesus. The crowds continued to multiply and yet, in the middle of it all, right before the famous Sermon on the Mount we read, “Now when [Jesus] saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down.” Jesus recognized the spiritual and physical need to get away, especially when the demands were high. He modeled this practice for us and his disciples.
Following Jesus up the narrow path, “his disciples came to him…” away from the crowds in order to find solace with Christ himself. Together, Jesus helped them to refocus on their call in a way that only spending time with Christ can do. The invitation is extended to each of us. The challenges of ministry will always be upon us, the crowd is worthy of our attention and time, and yet Jesus invites us to follow him, perhaps alone or in community with other leaders, up the narrow path to His summit. On His Summit, we find renewal. On His summit, we are given fresh vision. And in the presence of the Creator we are gifted with creativity to address the challenges at hand.
Last summer I was faced with a discouraging truth--after months of preparation and prayer, we didn’t have enough children enrolled to run a week long event called Vacation Bible School. The other leaders and I were incredibly discouraged. We were tired from the months of preparation. We were tempted to throw in the towel and call it quits. Admit defeat. Better luck next summer. And yet, The Creator had different plans.
When I slipped away to spend time with Jesus, the Spirit clearly showed me an alternate plan. All was not lost. I heard Jesus urging, “Don’t lose the chance to minister to a dozen youth who want to spend their week at church. Take the youth you have and adapt this week to serve them.” So with this fresh revision, VBS turned into a youth ministry. We call it Hope Week. A week to spread hope through acts of service in our community.
Most people are able to find the creative bone within them. Those who can’t, can always turn to the internet for an idea. What we cannot replace, duplicate or Google is an encounter with the Divine. The fresh vision of creativity and purpose breathed into us by The Creator’s Holy Spirit. A breath of new life that redeems failures, opens our eyes to those we are called to serve and builds the Kingdom in God’s own inspired way--a creative way that only spending time with Christ can reveal.
Listen to the Open Me Disruption podcast with Joe Hartropp exploring the reflection from this week. Joe's reflections will make more sense if you can see this painting:
Season 10 Episode 3
'Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them.'
Whether you're wrung dry or firing on all cylinders the call and the need is the same: to come home to the Creator, to be held and loved and filled again with his Spirit. Who knows what might become possible when we stop trying to dredge everything from inside us and reach for a deeper source of life. How can you make space for that today? How can you continue to make space for it?
Whisper to me.
Let me be still enough to hear you.
Make me fluent in the language of whims and inklings.
Flip my switches.
Light me up with bolts of inspiration.
Make me a vessel,
pour ideas through me.
Ignite the creative impulse within me.
Enrich me with the courage to create.
Gift me with the tools of self-expression:
the willingness to try;
the sensitivity to feel what needs to be felt;
the vision to see what needs to be said;
the boldness and bravery to say it.
Grace me with the precise edges and sharpened points of articulate expression.
Let me dip my brush into the well of truth and paint something beautiful and resonant.
Let the truth ring through my bones when I hit the right note.
I know that my mind casts shadows.
Help me recover the truth of joy that is always there
but is sometimes shrouded in doubt.
Sustain me with the trust to keep going.
When the work is done, let my compensation be contentedness.
Refuel me with the revelry of resonance.
And when the time is right, reward me by replenishing my reserves
with another spoonful of inspiration,
so that I might make my life an offering.
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