I find myself wandering this week in and among the sacred spaces of a new appointment in the United Methodist itinerancy. Being one of your pastors is a great joy! Being your new senior pastor is an honor. In six short weeks this summer, you have learned more about me and my family as we listen carefully to your family story when we meet more and more of you on a personal level. Praying with some of you at the altar rail this past week was truly a gift to me.
As we continue to get to know each other, maybe it would help us all if I share what I mean about the sacred spaces of a new appointment. It is much like walking or sauntering through a labyrinth. The photos included show a 6 stage pattern that is very common and is the design of our labyrinth on the Manchaca UMC campus. As a person enters, there is a straightaway of welcome that appears to lead directly to the center and the cross and seating stations. Eureka! If it was only that easy to get to know all of you and the mission of this church! But wait, before too long in the labyrinth, there is a diversion and the pathway veers left and away from the center to make its way around the edges of the labyrinth. The center is in plain sight, but the pathway suggests the journey will take some time to get there.
The center - the spiritual center for a seeker, the mission for a disciple, the calling and longing of all believers to be closer with God and in sync with God's spirit is always visible. And yet the path does not lead directly to that place, to that sacred space. Much traveling and physical work is required to reach the center. One thing I have learned Along the Way is that "the center" and its being in sight is enough for most days. When Christian vocation leads to many different places, conversations, dreams, ideas, failures, and successes, the pathway becomes an important revelation of the journey.
The good news is that while we travel together toward the center which is Christ, I get to meet you at the bends and the curves of the labyrinth which is daily life. Some of you will call me seeking vision for a ministry or an idea for a small group. Some of you will reach out to me in the office of pastor for crisis care. Some will come alongside in small group or cottage meeting conversations Some of you will simply stop, pause, smile, wave, and continue your daily activities. In all of those sacred spaces and situations, I hope that we will allow the Spirit of God to be our friend and guide.
We hope that you will join us this Sunday for in-person worship at 9:00 am or 11:15 am at Manchaca UMC. For those tuning in on www.facebook.com/ManchacaUMC, please let us know how we can join you in prayer.
In all of the Sacred Spaces, Jesus Christ is Lord!
Thanks be to God!
Along the Way
Author: Paul E Harris
Journal posts from a pastor and spiritual friend