Sunday, December 04, 2016


So Ananias went and entered the house.  He laid his hands on Saul and said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit."  Acts 9:17

Every church I know wants to grow; every pastor wants to be able to bring in new people. 

Up to a point, right?

What happens when the most progressive church in town is visited by the most conservative voice in the community, who gives every indication that this is the family of faith which she has been searching for and finally feels she has found?

How does the pastor who takes (humbling, of course) pride in looking after all the folks who live on the streets - making sure they are fed, battling the city leaders to open more shelters for longer hours, encouraging parishioners to spend just as much on the most vulnerable in our society as they do on the folks they most love at Christmas - respond when two of the street families show up and announce they want to be baptized and join the church?

The seminary student who all the professors are convinced and tell her that she is destined for one of the Tall Steeple churches coveted by so many in the denomination - what does she do when she opens the letter from the tiny, struggling, destined-to-close-its-doors congregation, telling her that they believe God is calling her to serve with them at the corner of Hopeless and WashedOut?

Maybe these are the moments, the people, the challenges we are offered that will help us to regain our sight, and see the kingdom as it truly is meant to be.

Prayer: When it would be easy to refuse the risks you offer to us, Life-changing God, help us to grasp them firmly.  For we never know where or to whom they might lead us, but you do.  Amen.

(c) 2016 Thom M. Shuman

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