The Bridge October 14, 2010
Posted on October 15, 2010 by under Outreach and Missions,

The Hard Part of 167

It has been a while since I have written to you.  I wish I could blame not having the time, but the truth is I have not had the inspiration.  The last Bridge I wrote was so bad and confusing, I refused to send it and then nothing struck me as pressing in our missional movement.  Then something happened this last weekend at Odyssey.  After church, Jill said to me that the hardest part of 167 is allowing others to practice a 167 life on us.  As always, Chris Snyder approaches Jill with, “How are the Masts doing?”  Jill gave our regular response, “Fine.  Thank you.”  In Chris’ 167, having lived through the pains of a child with special needs, she knew this was not true.  So she pushed Jill reminding her that we, (The Masts) too, need to allow people to care and help us.  This has been very hard for Jill and me.  We have had some very hurtful things said and done to us over the years and have grown very good at “circling the wagon” and not allowing others to help.  “We can handle it!”  But we can’t.  Central to 167 living is being in relationship with the love and grace of Christ.  This means receiving it as much as we offer it.  Sometimes it is hardest to allow those closest to us be Christ in our life.

Being in a Christian community is not easy.  We are passionate about our faith as we try to be passionate about each other.  Sometimes this causes struggle as words are misunderstood, bad behavior left unchecked, and an acceptance of “all is fine.”  My view of the church in a 167 life is that it is the place where we are loved, healed, and equipped to go into the world and live.  We do not fill up our 167 with church.  167 is about what we do outside of church.  The important piece here is that church is the place we must first practice 167.  It is here we serve.  Here we are healed.  Here we learn to forgive and be forgiven.  It is in the community of Christ that we learn what is important and what is not.  It is the place we learn to be humble and practice servant leadership.  It is the place we serve the world in the power of numbers and the place we are challenged and prepared to serve Christ in our homes, work, neighborhoods and family.  Jesus did not lecture.  He told stories and said, “Follow me.”  He built relationships and showed his disciples how to live in his love and grace.

Where else do we experience this discipleship than through those who are Jesus in our life?  We learn to care as others care for us.  We learn to love as we are loved.  We learn to agree to disagree as people disagree with us in love.  We learn how to work through our differences in a Christ like way as we humble ourselves to learn from the least in our midst.

How am I?  I am tired.  A bit overwhelmed.  Kyle is better, but other stuff is now rising up.  There are a lot of changes going on in my role and I am not yet clear what God’s current role is for me at HRC or in my family.  I am overweight and a bit crabby.  This all said, I am writing you after a wonderful meeting in Florida where I gathered with brothers and sisters in Christ with whom I do not completely agree, but we all love Jesus.  I am feeling more joy and direction is becoming clear.  I think I might soon be “fine.”

Until next time . . .Mark