A continuation from the week before. Last week, we asked, “What drives us from within? What are we hungry for?" This week, we ask, “What is before us; what is the vision toward which we move?” Now, we ask not just what does God look like or how do we recognize God’s presence in the world, but what would the world look like when it is aware of that presence? What would we look like, what would our community look like if we really believed what we say about Jesus and about grace and salvation? How would it be reflected in our relationships, in our conversations, and in our lives day by day?
When we ask, “What are you seeking?” we are talking about kingdom living. We are talking about the community of faith representing the body of Christ. As we worship this week, we celebrate the signs of God’s presence among us. We lift up our acceptance, our hospitality, our fellowship, and our service to the wider community. We give God thanks that we can be and are a sign that God is at work in the world.
At the same time, we confess that there are times when we fall short of that ideal. We ask forgiveness for those we have not made welcome in our midst, for the brothers and sisters we have feared or ignored around us and even within us. What voices are silenced by how we conduct our worship and how we have arranged our learning and growing in faith? We ask God to open our eyes to our shortcomings and blind spots, even as we rejoice in the hope that lives within us.
How do you cast the vision for what you can be as the body of Christ? Who will cast that vision? Maybe leading up to this week in worship, the team could canvas different populations of the church and ask who they are longing to be. Ask the children and the youth; ask the older adults and families. Ask the singles and the young people; ask the immigrants and the long-term residents. What is the picture that emerges as you seek to describe the church that you are becoming? We can lift up these dreams and visions and ask for God’s blessing and direction as we continue to seek the face of God in our midst.
Rev. Dr. Derek Weber, Director of Preaching Ministries, served churches in Indiana and Arkansas and the British Methodist Church. His PhD is from University of Edinburgh in preaching and media. He has taught preaching in seminary and conference settings for more than 20 years.