Last weekend I was working with church leaders, tasked with discerning a God-formed vision. It’s mind bending work, but it is the stuff of leadership.
Yesterday morning I heard the news that John Sailhamer has passed away. Dr. Sailhamer taught Old Testament at Western for several years, and many in the Western community have been impacted significantly by his friendship and teaching. He had been battling Parkinson’s disease and was cared for faithfully by his sweet wife, Patty. Though we rejoice that his suffering is over, we are also deeply saddened by his death.
I enjoy making New Year’s resolutions. It’s an opportunity to put aside past mistakes and failures and start over in the coming year. I can start anew with my devotional or exercise program that I abandoned last year. My gym sent me an e-mail which declared this to be the “year of . . . you”. The e-mail went on to say, “It’s 100% your choice. It’s your decision. It’s in your hands. YOU are in control. YOU.” That’s the kind of talk I like – talk that centers around me. Of course, as a Christian I immediately recognize this to be worldly thinking, but I need to be careful. My thinking about resolutions can easily end up as worldly thinking masked by a thin veneer of Christian language.
What if we encouraged those in the pew, as we should in the classroom, to adopt a far more active stance? Imagine a church where the expectations for learning were far higher. People are not expected to simply take things in–but figure things out.
With a few words from a stranger, one story ended and another started—suddenly and unexpectedly. The mysterious visitor had not come to bless her plans, but to announce a reality. God was calling Mary out of her story and into His.