The Buchele Adventure

This is record of the Buchele Adventure, as reported from West Africa.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Lebh Shomea: Lessons Learned.

Lebh Shomea: Lessons Learned.

So maybe lessons learned is too definitive. Lessons in the process of being learned might fit better because I seem to come back around to these lessons like seasons of the year. Again I learn or relearn is that I am doing too much that doesn’t matter, last or make a difference.

Inside the Sacred Heart Chapel
One day in community silent prayers I was convicted by something I read in the Gospel of John. Each day at 5pm people gather in the Sacred Heart Chapel and sit in silence until the dinner bell rings. Hunger leads to more effective prayer. I was meditating on what Jesus said about being bread of life, he cautions me not to work for food that spoils, but for the food that endures to eternal life. This hits home because I like to cook so much, even knowing that this effort is just for this meal; I like to play music with other musicians, knowing the songs do end, concerts do conclude; and so much of the weekly work I do for the church goes in the recycling bin because we done with it, its all food that spoils.

The Dinner Bell
Except for the relationships – the people at the dinner table, the musicians in the band, those who gather to worship, these are the relationships nurtured. It seems to me that it can’t all be food that endures to eternal life, there must also be some food that spoils, that is the tyranny of the urgent.

We have some coffee mugs from my first church, ones so old that now there is just faint reminder of their design. We were so proud of these mugs when they came out, and we worked so hard to get the design right. Those were the early days of that church when we really didn’t know who we were, or what we were becoming, and so much effort went into coffee mugs, webpages, bulletins, publications, none of which survive to this day.

What survived are the relationships, and yet what I spend the majority of my time on was the stuff that didn’t; didn’t last, matter, or make a difference.

It is like I have placed the importance on the coffee mug, but what really matters is what goes in it… the coffee. We need both, without the coffee its just a mug, and without mug, we don’t get the coffee. There is a balance between the mug, how it feels in the hand, and against the lips, together they complements the experience of drinking coffee, but in the end, it is the coffee, not the mug that is its reason for being. At Lebh Shomea instant is the only coffee available, so maybe I’m just jonesing for a real cup o’ joe.

Dining Room
I think this coffee-mug metaphor fits well with what I have come to understand this time as the mission of the church (that is why we do what we do):
Make Disciples
Disciple Believers
Wash more Feet
Understanding that to …
Make Disciples means to introduce Jesus to people in a positive way by who we are, and what we do with the end goal being of God becoming real to those whom we have introduced to Jesus to. But it does not end with the making disciples.

Disciple Believers means that we provide opportunities and the expectation that people will grow in their faith and understanding of the faith practices by connecting them to other believers. Together, communities are formed that gather for prayer and to study the Bible. I struggle with using the word believers, as if I am limiting it, confessionally, to professing Christians. I guess what I mean is that the leaders of the community would be believers, so that its focus always remains God-centered. Churches and Small Groups have a tendency to become self absorbed, inwardly focused and so the third component and so they need opportunities to look outside themselves.

Wooden Cross at the Cowboy Cemetery
Wash Feet or Wash More Feet means that there are opportunities and an expectation that the church will to serve others inside and outside its community, in either service or mission. Defining mission as something we do for non-believers (as the hands and feet of Christ), and service as something we do for believers (as their community of faith). I’m not sure if the word more is needed, but it does place the expectation that the church will ever increase its efforts in serving others.

By attending to all three (Make Disciples, Disciple Believers, Wash more Feet) God’s church helps people work out their own salvation. Salvation, I’ve seen in my readings this week, means more than just a single salvific or justifying moment that awakens our faith (and “saves” us). Salvation means becoming whole, and sanctification is that process or journey to which all believers are called to, one that leads toward their wholeness. Faith is but one component that journey, and seeking wholeness includes a faith that seeks understanding, that connects to a community, that putting their faith into action, that lives to make a difference, a difference that matters, and whose efforts ultimately last beyond themselves.

Sunset from the Tower of The Big House


Blogger SBuchele said...

I am reading The Hole in our Gospel (while also reading Love Wins, an interesting combination). In it Stearns quotes another book, Surprised by Hope, which says: "But what we can and must do in the present, if we are obedient to the gospel, if we are followers of to build for the kingdom. This brings us back to 1 Corinthians 15:58 once more: what you do in the Lord is not in vain. You are not oiling the wheels of a machine that's about to roll over a cliff. You are not restoring a great painting that's shortly going to be thrown on the fire... Every act of love, gratitude, and kindness, every work of art or music inspired by the love of God... - all of this will find its way, through the resurrecting power of God, into the new creation that God will one day make." - Suzanne (missing you and your music and cooking, while I'm in Ghana!)

2:02 PM, May 28, 2011  

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