As I write this article, we are also preparing for our Pledge Dedication on Sunday, October 30. Our Stewardship theme is “Fearless Generosity” and is an invitation to put our faith and trust in God into action. If you haven’t already pledged, please prayerfully consider your 2017 gift to South Church and know that your generosity is very much appreciated!
I’m excited about our “New Beginnings” gathering on Wednesday, November 2, 2016 when you are be invited to share your views on the future of South Presbyterian Church. We will be using a process called Appreciative Inquiry, which is based on the idea of discovering what works best and gives life to an organization (i.e. congregation), and then building the congregation on these life-giving properties.
Thinking about our focus on the future, I want to share a story I once heard: A thoughtful, curious young man went to the desert to visit an elderly monk, who had lived in the desert for many years. Arriving at the holy man’s cave, the young man encountered the monk sitting outside enjoying the sun, his dog lying lazily at his side.
This spiritual seeker asked, “Why is it, teacher, that some who seek God come to the desert and are passionate in prayer, but leave after a year or so, while others, like you, remain faithful to the quest for a lifetime?”
The old man smiled and replied, “Let me tell you a story. One day I was sitting here quietly in the sun with my dog. Suddenly a large, white rabbit ran across in front of us. Well, my dog jumped up, barking loudly, and took off after that big rabbit. He chased the rabbit over the hills with great enthusiasm. Soon other dogs joined in—they ran barking across the creeks, up stony embankments, and through thickets and thorns! Gradually, however, one by one, the other dogs dropped out of the pursuit, discouraged by the course and frustrated by the chase. Only my dog continued to hotly pursue the white rabbit.
In that story, young man, is the answer to your question. The young man sat in confused silence. Finally, he said, “Teacher, I don’t understand. What is the connection between the rabbit chase and the quest for God?”
“You fail to understand,” answered the old hermit, “because you failed to ask the obvious question. The question is, ‘Why didn’t the other dogs continue the chase?’ And the answer to that question is that the other dogs had not seen the rabbit. The barking of my dog attracted them. But once you see the rabbit, you will never give up the chase. Seeing the rabbit, and not following the commotion, is what keeps me in the desert.”
So, I wonder, what keeps us faithful in our journey? How do we continue to focus on the rabbit and not on the commotion and uproar surrounding us? May the God of peace be with South Church and its members in our quest!
Grace and peace, Mark