Laboring From The Periphery

The Geese have moved to an even farther away bank at Campus Lake. When I pulled up this morning for my daily check on my favorite gaggle…I noticed three people that were attempting to fish off of the walkway just where the geese had been staying. As I suspected…the misguided fishers…frightened them away. I have been photographing them for well over a week, each day wondering if this will be the day that they have moved on.

The church is always inspirational to me… but especially this morning. Today we had our annual Congregational Meeting to elect elders and deacons for the upcoming terms of office. We Presbyterians have an elected representational form of government that is very similar to the United States elected political representation. First Presbyterian’s shared leadership of the local church is one of the most fascinating parts of our denomination. The idea of shared leadership elected from the congregation rather than having church government by one person’s decree…is safety and a blessing. It has been my humble honor and a distinct privilege to be a member of our Session on two occasions. More dedicated people…I have never found…

Pastor Kerry noted in his great sermon this morning that the church has become increasingly marginalized and pushed to the periphery of society. I have watched this phenomenon over the past 53 years that I have been a Christian. If you are a student of Jesus’ earthly ministry you will no doubt note that he worked from the periphery of his society…as well. The religious leaders of his day…the Pharisees and the Sadducees…did not accept him…’David himself calleth him Lord, and whence is he then his son? And the common people heard him gladly.’ Mark 12:37

Presbyterians are the hardest-working Christians that I have known. They stand for freedom of thought and helping the helpless. Acceptance of the disposed and the marginalized and the forgotten of society…is a proactive change in our world of Tribalism and Elitism and Exclusion of those who are different than the accepted norm.

Many churches require uniformity of purpose and action and political belief. They teach that their leaders have cornered the market on God’s will for the congregation. It is heartening and inspirational to be included in a vision of Christianity that relies on each believer hearing from God and following him according to what their heart and intellect reveal to them.

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