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He had been listening to my sermon illustration closely … and focused on a small piece that itself could be a great sermon. And it got me thinking about our ministry together. 

Living Water

The sermon was focused on Jesus’ words in John 7 concerning “Rivers of Living Water.” Jesus, I observed, is the source and this living water is provided through us to the world. And then the observation of this brother in Christ gave me something to consider, namely the IMPACT that both stagnant and living water has on their surroundings.

For example, stagnant pools of water tend to degrade their surroundings while moving water continually creates new paths, even through stone. Stagnant waters tend to concentrate contaminants while moving water tends to filter them out. As I mentioned in my sermon, water from stagnant pools cannot be used to support human life and often bring death. Water that is moving and flowing, even when collecting temporarily into pools, can provide refreshment and helps to sustain life.

With that in mind, our ministry together as God’s people should more closely resemble moving, living water. More to the point, while our ministry together will build on traditions of the past, our goal will not merely reflect the past but will, instead, carve out a new path. Today a stream will often resemble its past … it comes from the same source and will generally follow the same path. In the same way, our work together continues to find its source in the God who has made us and re-created us in Baptism and, generally, we will follow a path that is similar to what has come before. But together we will begin to carve a new path into the future.

For example:

  • Our worship together will continue to be “in the name of Jesus” and certainly continue to be a means for the faithful proclamation of God’s word and the administration of the sacraments. The language and style will continue to change as we use new musical forms and expressions.
  • Our school will continue to be a means for raising up the next generation of disciples who will impact the world for Christ. New teachers and leaders, different curricula, and technology will bring new ways of doing so.
  • Caring for others, especially those who are lonely or afraid, suffering under the weight of illness or injury, will continue to be a hallmark of our life together.  The means by which we connect with others and share in their life will be different today than it has been.

Here’s the common thread: no stagnant water here! While ongoing change and development can be a bit frightening and increase our anxiety, it will be critical if we are to extend the kingdom of God to, for, and with new generations of God’s people.

Peace and joy,

PJA

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