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This morning, as we began our exploration, we began to see how we must be opened by living past our fears, and living in forgiveness, to grow into a prepared people. We were reassured by the felt presence of God’s love and strength, and accepted that God is present in our stumbling as well as our walking strong.
This evening, we were led to see further. We were challenged in our exercise to recognize how deeply enculturated we are, and how the spiritual weaknesses and blindness of our culture are interwoven in many of our patterns of thought, even here in this beloved community. Our leadership is failing us by staying in well-worn ruts.
If we are to arise in the Light as we told ourselves this morning, and bear a witness in this world, we must take seriously the things we say about God the present teacher, leader, healer, and giver of power. Gifts of vision, of ministry and service are poured out among us, all around, for the upbuilding of the body. We need to accept them, and demand that they be exercised in fresh life. If we cultivate these gifts — nourishing, cherishing, pruning, guiding — we will all be fed, we will increasingly be able to take spirit-led action, and the body will discover its witness. If we do not nurture the multitude of gifts among us, and nurture also our ability to follow, our spirits and our community will starve away. To those who have, more will be given, but those who hold a treasure, but do not own it, will have it taken away.
We are this evening mourning our shortcomings, but we know that the Lord mourns with us. We know we are accompanied, and not yet abandoned by the Shepherd of Israel, who is working with light, joy, and mysterious power yet, and waiting for us to embrace him.