Housekeeping: A metaphor for church leadership

It’s time for us to start thinking about who will do the housekeeping for the next twelve months. Many churches call these people ‘deacons.’ The word comes from the Greek diakonos, which means ‘one who serves.’ We sometimes call it ‘church leadership’, but it’s a funny sort of leadership. It’s low status, usually thankless, and only noticed when it’s not being done: like housekeeping; and, like housekeeping, many of the tasks are mundane and require no special expertise beyond a deep willingness to serve. And, like housekeeping, it takes time each week to keep things ticking over. This is what it involves: Continue reading “Housekeeping: A metaphor for church leadership”

John | COVID-19, shutdown, and the leaders we need

As we shelter in place, let us consider what COVID-19 is revealing about our world, and let us consider which voices we will follow out of the enclosure. (Listen.)

When Jesus begins to talk about shepherding, most of us begin to doze off. Maybe it’s the deadening effect of a hundred Sunday School lessons, or those awful cutesy pictures of Jesus and little lambkins; maybe, it’s the sheep. Whatever it is, wake up! Because in this story of sheep, sheep rustlers, shepherds and gates, Jesus isn’t talking about farming. Nor is he talking about himself as a shepherd; that doesn’t happen until later. Instead, he’s talking about leaders—teachers, preachers, politicians, kings—and his words point to the leaders we need in this time of shutdown and beyond. Continue reading “John | COVID-19, shutdown, and the leaders we need”

Children welcoming children

Welcome children! That’s the directive for Day 35 of Lent, this Monday just gone. The phrase of course assumes that ‘we’ are adults, and ‘children’ are the ones ‘we’ need to welcome. But as the fifteen-year-old who wrote a reflection on the passage pointed out, the children who participate at Sanctuary “will continue to learn and see church as something for them, not for their parents and elders.” (Read the rest of her reflection here). Continue reading “Children welcoming children”

The Great Leader and the Gravedigger

Listen here.

Here we are, at the end of Moses’ epic journey. He has led the people out of Egypt, through the desert, across the Red Sea; he has brought them out of slavery, and turned them away from idol worship and towards God; no one has ever shown such mighty power or performed such awesome deeds; he is the greatest prophet the world has ever known; and the promised land is in sight. If this were an ordinary story, we all know what would happen next: a red carpet unfurling, trumpets ringing out, and Moses riding a white stallion as he leads the people in triumph into the land. Except, this is no ordinary story.  Instead, Moses encounters a gravedigger.  Continue reading “The Great Leader and the Gravedigger”

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