Pastor’s Pen                   July 13, 2016

“Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them this question: “What do you think of the Messiah?” Matthew 22:41-42

Its’ been said that a consultant can be defined as someone who lives 100 miles away, is called in to state the obvious, and then leave. Another definition says that a consultant is someone hired by your organization to tell your leaders what they already know and to supply a copy of a report you wrote.

         These tongue-in-cheek descriptions of the role of a consultant bear just enough truth to be really funny. Nevertheless, we sometimes need another voice outside our own heads asking just the right questions to help us remember what matters most. Consultants can ask hard questions without risk of losing their jobs. They can provoke us to think about things we’d rather not remember, in order to act on things we can’t afford to forget.   

         Jesus was a great teacher with his disciples, sharing God’s message of love, mercy, grace, and peace through parables and a fresh interpretation of the faith story they already knew by heart. But with the Pharisees and Sadducees in the Jerusalem Temple, Jesus was a consultant. He came from far away, he asked questions that challenged their belief system and actions, he told them what he thought, and then he went away.

         It didn’t end well for Jesus. We intend to respond better to our consultants than the Pharisees responded to Jesus. We’re already grateful for their willingness to come in the summer months to help church leaders map out a visioning plan that will include all of us in the year to come. They will invite us to dig deep and dream together about our future. As we participate in this visioning work together, we pray that God will strengthen within us a spirit of trust and hope for the vital vintage church God calls us to be.

Prayer: God over all the earth and all things, help us to listen deeply to one another, and to listen for the questions you pose through your Spirit, nudging us to respond in faith to that which you have set before us this day.

God’s grace, mercy, and peace,

Pastor Anna V. Copeland