Reflections on the two weeks of prayer and fasting
The two weeks of prayer and fasting with which we began the year have been a real high light for me. It was so good to set time apart to pray and listen to God with others from Christ Church who carry a longing and desire for us as a church to be responsive and attentive to what God is saying to us. What stands out for me was a word that God gave us right at the start of the two weeks. In fact it was two words:
Respectability (NO) and Authenticity (YES) … don’t try to be respectable and allow fear of what people think and say determine how we act, but be dangerously real open, transparent and vulnerable. That puts you in a place were I can use you and my power can be released in you.
This stayed with us as we continued through the two weeks. God spoke about stripping away the outward stuff and getting to an inner place of surrender. He spoke about us allowing hardened hearts to be softened. As a well resourced church we can be easily tempted into putting our trust in the resources we have; the money, the skills, teaching material and know how. More than that we are easily tempted to believe that the resources we have are the answer to the challenges others have. And very often they might believe the same and express it in different ways and so reinforce this lie we have drifted into believing.
We have a vision and sense that God is calling us to share generously and humbly with others. This is partly expressed by the plans to develop a youth resource hub. But we have to ask what it is that we are to share? What are we going to pass on to others? While this must include material resources it has got to be more than that. The resources we have will not bring salvation, change lives, transform communities, and heal people and families. The treasure we have to share is “Christ in us the hope of glory” (Col 1:27).
And we have this treasure, Paul reminds us (2 Cor 4:7) “in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us”.
In the words of a Leonard Cohen song from way back when, “It is the cracks that let the light in”.
So Amen and Amen. NO to respectability – don’t glaze over the cracks. And YES to authenticity – be real and vulnerable owning our weaknesses and failures. That will let the real treasure be seen. That will transform and heal.
Pressing on …