It is 12:50 on Friday and the Spirit has been fairly brisk this week with the possibility of gale force winds in the near future...
The essential thing is that for the past number of years the reaction to gale force Holy Spirit has been to batten down the hatches and make sure that we stick to the United Church agenda. Even if we have forgotten what that is. Money is down, people are down (both in numbers and mood), the possibility of saving the church seems to be more down everyday.
At a recent meeting of Presbytery we spent 90 minutes looking at Creative Ministries, of which 30 minutes was actual discussion. We spent almost six hours talking about Creation and Empire, the idea of hiring a bus to take us to Conference was turned into a suggestion that a resolution be drafted asking Conference to hire the bus.
I am not saying that Creation and Empire is not an interesting and timely discussion, but it is one with which we are familiar. Creative Ministries less so. The United Church Manual pretty much suggests that a church is a group with a minister and a building. That limits us. There are congregations with no minister and no immediate hope of affording one. There are other with no buildings. Depending on circumstance these are both valid propositions.
Nicodemus came to Jesus in the middle of the night to ask about this Dominion of God thing that Jesus kept talking about. Jesus told him to look to the Spirit. "There's no telling what the Spirit will do." Jesus suggested that all Nicodemus' knowledge was useless in the face of God's action in the world. Nicodemus needed to start all over again with what is called "beginner's mind".
I think we need to come to our churches and our church meetings with beginner's mind. We need to see them like we have never done this before; then ask "How is this serving God?"
Asking that question may help us to refocus the discussion.
But I bet it won't make you popular at church meetings.