Yesterday I spent all day running around Memphis finishing up business for the Outlaw Preachers (re)Union. I went to the bank and got money to pay Pilgram House Retreat Center, spent time at First Congregational hearing loads of compliments from the pastor and facilities manager about what a joy it had been to host the Outlaws. I ran into Tom in the hall on the way up to check on a few lost items, none of which I could find…but he was glad to see me and smiled broadly remembering the business of the weekend. I decided to run down to the meeting rooms and just take a spin through them to check and found the halls so still and quiet…images of hugging and laughing swirling in my head, weaving through a hall that seems way too narrow now seemed wide and empty. When we began planning this I thought it would be so easy to plan in my home town, I know this place and knew things would logistically work, what I didn’t expect was the feeling of emptiness that I would have when everyone left! The ghosts of Outlaw Preachers swirl around the places they frequented like the ghosts of Christmas past and I have to return to my daily life of work and ministry.
Also while I was wrapping up some of the business end of #op10 I bagan to reflect on the Transfiguration in Luke 9:28-36 That mountain top experience that Peter didn’t want to leave…and then I read on to verses 37 and 38 which say “On the next day, when they had come down from the mountain, a great crowd met him. Just then a man from the crowd shouted, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son; this is my only child….” The story continues with Jesus seemingly getting frustrated with the crowd Jesus says in verse 41 “You faithless and perverse generation, how much longer must I be with you and bear with you? Bring your son to me” Maybe it wasn’t just Peter who would have liked to have stayed on that mountain!! Maybe Jesus too longed to stay in the company of God on the mountain, yet he chose to continue the always demanding, sometimes frustrating work of being present for people in need of healing. I am trying really hard to process all the blessings of this weekend while acknowledging the quietness I am experiencing that translates more into aloneness while also being available to those whom God has placed in my path to be ministered too…the whole point of this for me is, the journey continues but I go forward with the knowledge that I have seen a glimpse of what the Kingdom is and it will sustain me and encourage me until I see it again.
Thank you to all who attended #op10, to those who joined us online and to all those who wished they could have attended but even in the disappointment of not being present lifted us up in prayer for this experience. God is doing a new thing, I am not sure what it is, but I am sure that God is faithful to those who are willing to be available to God’s call. We continue to journey together, to decern our individual paths that weave together to create a blanket of care for those who feel they are alone, uncared for, not good enough, unwanted, unclean, unloved and misfits, we recognize in them our own feelings and seek to give them directions to the mountain top where that all changed.
The Lord continue to Bless you all until we gather again!