Pastor Gen - Thoughts from a Sabbatical #8
Dear Veradale Friends,
The first gallery of New Zealand Pictures is up. Also. below is a picture of me taken by one of the others in this workshop while on a very wobbly bridge (There was a warning that it can only hold 6 people at a time).
Our days have been filled with great lessons and opportunities. We are up before sunrise, going out in the dark with headlamps to find amazing locations. We wait for the light and the colors. It is quiet as we are usually out before the birds start their morning songs (about 5am, today 6am because they just started daylight savings time). After sunrise, we get breakfast and then drive to our next location, a waterfall, birds, or a river, then is is a quick stop to get a sandwich or savory pie (these have been very yummy). Then we drive to our sunset location, hike in, watch the light and learn more about how to make the most of filters and settings. After that, it is off to supper which has been around 8:30 pm each night .
On the first morning we set out for sunrise, I had unpack and repacked my camera bag/backpack to lighten the load for the hike. I left my headlamp thinking that the light would be coming soon and I wouldn’t need the lamp. Well, I was wrong. We were out at 5am and the light would not start until after the 45 minute hike. I and one other in the group had no light to shine. The thing is, everyone else had light. Staying with this friendly diverse group, I and the other person could see our way on the path. We needed the group. We needed to be with those who had light and could shine when we couldn’t.
That is part of my experience of church. A critically important part of church is to be present for those who don’t feel like they have light for their path. I was once told by a woman who was going through a “valley of the shadow of death” that she came to church on Sunday to be with people who could prayer because she couldn’t. She felt herself to be in a deep dark place, uncertain if God ever listened, angry with God, and wondered if this God of Jesus even existed. I’m not certain how many people she ever told about why she came to church. I knew and to look at her, you would not have guessed the enormous struggle she faced.
All of us who feel content in our faith and comfortable with our path are among the most needed on a Sunday morning. Yes, people can go out in nature and be with God. I certainly experience this and there is a need for a loving faith community who practices the way of Jesus-- especially one like ours. Your light on this path of faith may be giving light and hope to someone who feels their life is in deep darkness. Those on the path with me that morning didn’t even seem to notice that I didn’t have a lamp. They just naturally put me in the hiking line with people all around me who had light. The other person was behind me with light all around her as well. It was not planned. There was no one directing where we should walk. It just happened. The path was lit and eventually, the sun did rise again.