I'm spending the week at a worship retreat on the edge of Lake Tahoe. It's an extraordinary place where you can find your breath being taken away at every twist and turn - in part because of the thinness of the air in the higher elevation - but mainly because the scenery is so incredibly beautiful. God's handiwork is on full display in this extraordinary place. I've found myself called to prayer often.
This morning's walk led me to an amphitheater near the side of the Lake where the names of the four Gospel writers are powerfully on display: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. But there's another pillar there. There is no name attached to it. The bench at the base of it is a little broken while still offering an invitation to come and rest for a while. And yet, the invitation for me was far greater than a place to sit and rest. What I experienced was a call to imagine again how my life is proclaiming the good news. What are the stories my life is telling, the fruit of the Spirit I'm embodying, the images of Jesus I'm reflecting? If God is still speaking, which I believe God is, then how is God speaking through me and my life?
And what about you? How is God speaking through you? If you were to write the stories of Jesus at work in your life, what stories would you record?
It's that question that has challenged me a bit as I realize how closed I've been to some of the movement of the Spirit around me. It's been an incredible start to the year in terms of growth and "success." I'm about to finish my 11th year at Mount Vernon Place where we have seen total transformation of our neighborhood, building and congregation in addition to dozens of lives. I would not trade this time for anything. I regularly say I have the "best job in Washington."
But my prayer for this season is not more people in the pews or anything that can be captured on a statistical report. Rather, my prayer is to see Jesus - to not just open my ears to hear him or my eyes to see him - but to unlock my full life to follow him, to let go of whatever might be holding me back, and to partner with him in such a way that there are more beautiful stories worth telling.
What about you? What stories would you want to include in your account of the good news?