I was delighted that David Shirey accepted the invitation to preach last Sunday. On Sunday, January 22, the people of Coolwater made the difficult decision to list our building and property for sale. When I learned that David was going to be in worship on January 29, I didn’t hesitate to ask him to preach. Who better to address the congregation of Coolwater after this decision than the founding pastor? David asked me how he could help Coolwater at this time. I responded that hearing words of understanding and blessing from him would be immensely comforting to this congregation that both of us as pastors love dearly.
David didn’t just knock this opportunity out of the park. No, he knocked it to the moon! His words conveyed compassion, abiding love, wisdom, and grace. I felt that tension eased and a burden became lighter. I felt understanding and empathy. I heard words of gratitude and guidance.
On Sunday January 22, I had referenced Old Testament stories where the Hebrew people had gathered stones to help people remember their faith, their heritage, and their purpose. Last Sunday David picked up on the stone theme as he wove words based on the idea in I Peter 2:4-5 that we are living stones. We are not tied to a building. Coolwater is made up of people - people who follow Jesus, who serve Jesus, who love Jesus.
David began by saying that God does not want us to suffer under a crushing debt. God wants us to be free to be living stones to the best of the abilities we share together. These were words of comfort and words of grace.
David also reminded us of the difference between deciding and discerning. He urged us not to decide our future as a congregation, but to discern. Discerning involves prayerful and thoughtful listening to what God is saying to us. Discerning means thoughtful and careful listening to each other as we seek to form a collective sense of what God is guiding us to do. This discerning will be a journey we take together as a congregation.
Jesus’ life began with a journey to Bethlehem. Jesus’ ministry took him on a journey all over the Holy Lands. Jesus’ ministry took him on a journey to Jerusalem we remember during Lent and Holy Week. That final journey led to his death. But death wasn’t the end. His death was the beginning of a new journey for those who follow Jesus – a journey from death to life, from despair to hope, from giving up to going forth in mission. That journey is one that Jesus invites you and me to take as living stones, wherever following Jesus leads us.
Blessings to All!