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Pastor Gen - Thoughts from a Sabbatical #11

Picture of me taken by one of the instructors toward the end of our program.


Dear Veradale Friends,


I had so many ideas of what I was going to complete this week, most are still waiting as life brought other needs that had to be addressed - yard work, bills, groceries, runs to the dump, and housework.

Reflections and thoughts:

I received the above photo as well as several other images of the people in our photography group from one of our instructors this week. This picture was taken at a cold, stormy sunset with angry clouds and strong winds. It was a tame sunset compared to some of the risky places we had driven and hiked during our time together.

Trying something risky is absolutely better to do with a group and even better with some guides who know the way. However, even guides can be surprised. Several of the roads we traveled were down to one lane because of the exceptional spring rain that had literally washed the road away (a part of the climate change they are experiencing). There were mudslides over roads and I am certain if I was on my own, I would not have even tried to find my way through. One road was so blocked that we had to turn around and take another road that our guides knew would get us to the same place. It would just take longer. We did get through and visited little towns where the communities relied on those disappearing roads to connect with the wider world.

Another experience of risk was one of the sunset hikes we took. It included walking through four pastures and a small forest in order to come out onto sand dunes in a raging, windy rain storm. Being with the group and the instructor/guide’s commitment that this was a New Zealand sight to be seen, we all kept going. Well, it was a sight. What it became was a story about how we got through and that maybe we needed to question the forecast.

Returning to life at home, thoughts concerning the lessons learned about taking risks come to mind. In our faith life we take risks to live out the way of Jesus. We have each other to encourage us in this practice. Jesus knowingly took a great risk so that all generations might know that God shows no partiality — everyone, all life, all creation is loved by God — no exceptions. Following this way of Jesus, there may be times when it seems like our road is blocked or the storms of life are too much. Because we choose to journey together, we can risk it. We can find our way through and later laugh as we tell the stories. We are not alone. We lean on the Spirit and learn from one another as we live this way of Jesus in what seems like a risky world. Then again, God so loved the world and still does!

With blessings,

Pastor Gen

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