Seek God – the opening line of our mission statement. It seems so basic, so obvious – of course we are seeking God. But what does it look like in action? How do we know if we are truly seeking God? How would God define “seeking” God? Let us explore together with God’s Spirit what it might mean to truly “Seek God.”
Our church has expressed its desire to become the beloved community. That foundation must be built upon seeking God, which is a journey, not a destination at which to arrive. If we think that we have already found God, then our vision is too small and our structure too rigid. Consider the words of Episcopal priest Stephanie Spellers, a leading thinker on change and growth in the church. She sees the current challenges of church and society as a way of God “cracking open” people for greater possibility and vision:
“Institutions and cultures are durable partly because they obey the law of inertia. Even if you think you’ve exerted a strong external push and knocked a moving object or an entire institution off its set course, wait. Just wait. With barely a nudge, the object will drift right back to its original path.
Think of your own experience. When you see a crack, what’s your first instinct? Push the pieces back together and patch it over. Eventually a contractor comes with the bad news: there is deep damage here, and if you don’t address it, before long the whole structure will be fundamentally compromised. You sigh and negotiate. I don’t know about you, but I have a surprising capacity to delude myself about how broken the structure is. With enough duct tape and rope, I will get back to normal.
So it is for a nation and a church. In the midst of displacement, destabilization, and decentering, Americans and church folks have been tempted to replace, restabilize, and recenter. Let’s return to the building. Let’s encourage the protesters to come off the streets. . . . Let’s move past division. Let’s reestablish majority American Christianity in its former, privileged cultural post.
Or we could acknowledge the unraveling, breaking, and cracking as a bearer of truth and even a gift. Perhaps, as Alan Roxburgh suggested, the Holy Spirit has been nudging and calling Christians “to embrace a new imagination, but the other one had to unravel for us to see it for what it was. In this sense the malaise of our churches has been the work of God.” . . . A church that has been humbled by disruption and decline may be a less arrogant and presumptuous church. It may have fewer illusions about its own power and centrality. It may become curious. It may be less willing to ally with the empires and powers that have long defined it. It may finally admit how much it needs the true power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit. That’s a church God can work with.”
And that is a church that will truly seek God! We can embrace the brokenness as well as the hope that shines through – God is now and always reaching out to us. We are called to seek for those ways – to be willing to receive the light shining through our cracks and exposing what needs to evolve.
Let us pray that we will be open to the true power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit as we seek God.
The Ministry Team – Janis Brown, Lori Bryant, Paul DeArman, and Mary Alice Do