I did not expect this week. I had forgotten what an intensive like this could be like. It brought me back to those Spirit-filled intensives at seminary. Filled with colleagues, with kindred spirits, with inspiration and wisdom, and with a kind of Holy Spirit movement that leaves you feeling like it is in fact true, that nothing is impossible for God.
Honestly, I was anxious about this theme of “Preaching and Politics”. As interested as I was, as hopeful as I was for what it could be, I also worried. What if the conference came across as overly partisan? What would people from church think about the conference? Should I post more pictures on Facebook? How could I share the depth and breadth of this week in Facebook posts? What if I didn’t find any sermons or lectures that spoke to my particular context? What if I came back feeling exhausted? Worse – what if it was boring?
All the questions, all the worries, all the wonderings, all the expectations. But the Festival, the continuing education, the colleagues, the worship, the Spirit-filled experience was so much more than I could have expected.
And it was not boring. That’s for sure.
Filled with Spirit, with Hope, and with Questions
Even seven blog posts later, I still feel like I have only gleamed the surface, but I’m sure those 30 pages of notes will find their way into our adult education series on public faith later this summer. The insights on leadership will guide me through this next year as we share our faith together. The challenges I have received will continue to stir in me questions about God’s calling to me, to us, in our world today.
How do we look to scripture to guide us in our lives today? What does it mean to be followers and servants of Jesus? How do we share the Gospel that might be political, but without partisan politics getting in the way of hearing one another? How do we move past division and towards the unity we are called to in a diverse Body of Christ?
What other questions and challenges might continue to shape me and my ministry as we serve together as God’s hands and feet in this world?
I look forward to upcoming adult education series, to preaching, and to ways the Word of God, Jesus Christ, speaks to us today. And I am giving thanks for the opportunity to experience the Festival of Homiletics this year. For the opportunity to wonder how I ended up there, for the gifts of flexibility and learning I have been given. Even though (and maybe especially since) the theme for the week is so not what I was expecting.
As we are called together into unity as the Body of Christ whose love and hope shines a light in the midst of the anxieties of this world, I am reminded of God’s faithfulness, and our call to be faithful servants. So that like Christ’s light shines in the darkness, the light of Christ might shine through us as well.
This post is the last in a seven-part series on experiences at the Festival of Homiletics 2018!