If ever I’m sure I’ve discovered the movements of God in the world, God finds some way to unmoor me from my expectations in ways that always, always lead to broader trust and abundant transformation.

If ever I thought I had the world figured out, I have only to lift up my eyes and cast them around to see God’s new day dawning around me, beckoning me to step into the Light that illuminates every shadow and shade in which I hide.

If ever I trick myself into thinking that it is my job alone to fix all that is fractured, answer all that is asked, or protect all that is endangered, Jesus gently puts me in my place, reminding me that the world already has a Savior, and I am not it.

If ever I perfect my process or optimize my list, map out my plan or assume my station, the God who prioritizes presence over perfection, vulnerability over optimization, and the Way over the End invites me back to all that is wild and holy and loved.

If ever I try to anticipate the movements of our beloved community, my eyes darting from this idea to that need, this conversation to that initiative, Christ affixes me with the beloved gaze and transfixes me into a stillness I had forgotten I needed.

If ever I think I know what I’m referring to when titling a sermon series “When the Spirit Is Loosed,” the Holy Spirit in all her holy surprise loosens me from that to which I don’t even realize I’m bound.

If ever I pack up Pentecost for another year, God in Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit rushes through my life yet again, upending the words I thought I’d found, igniting the embers I thought had cooled, and changing my anxiety to awe at what God has done.

If ever I say with confidence that First Baptist has surely experienced our quota of building challenges for this season (!!), a piece of 100 year-old plaster falls and reminds me yet again that a church is not merely a building, a Sanctuary is not the primary space in which to worship, and that God’s people are resilient and strong, with hearts attuned to deeper oneness with God in whom we are finally and fully at home.

Everlasting is God’s love. Ever-liberating is Christ’s redemption. Ever-enlivening is the Spirit’s breath. Ever-living is the body of Christ in all her diversity. Ever grateful am I.

Together in the work of Love,
Pastor Emily

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