A Pastoral Word for 2019: Ligamental
Liga…what? you might be asking yourself about now. My pastoral word to all of you for 2019 (insert drumroll here…) is ligamental! This actually occurred to me as a result of moving last August. Seems somewhere along the way while hefting a box this way or that my thumb was bent in a direction it was not normally accustomed to going. The result was a stretched ligament that keeps reminding me of its existence. I know that my body is filled with ligaments, but most of the time I don’t think about them. When they are doing their job, they are invisible to my eye and my awareness.
But stretch one or worse yet, tear one, and you will discover that these essential tissues make much that we do possible as embodied people. I got to thinking about the ligamental nature of the work of the conference in its various expressions. Even more, I have been pondering and dreaming about the ways in which our ligamental life as the Body of Christ in Ohio, West Virginia, and Norther Kentucky could be strengthened.
First, I got to thinking about “why church”? In addition to the commandments to love God and neighbor, my initial thinking (always open to expansion) led me to three things: Empowered by God – form disciples of Jesus Christ; fashion communities of forgiveness, grace and service; and forge a more just, sustainable and flourishing world.
Then I got to thinking about how these might be strengthened in our life together. What’s going on in one end of the conference that might be helpful to another part of the body? How might that best be shared? What is a struggle that one part of the body carries that is also a struggle of another part that could be helpfully attended by coming together? What kind of inspiration, equipping, engaging and empowering, might best strengthen the whole and especially invite others who have no connection to a church community?
What are the ligaments in our life that have gotten stiff due to lack of use which, if exercised, might help the body be more robust? Our vision team will be meeting on January 14th to prepare plans for different parts of the body to be together to explore our ligaments and how they may be strengthened. The first of those meetings will be a February gathering of the executive committees of each association and the conference. The second of those meetings will be an all association and conference staff meeting in March. Through these we hope to build relationships, understanding, and begin to see how God is working in our shared life. Most of all I hope we will see where there are strong ligaments that we can celebrate and also where there are ligaments that if tended could help us to thrive in our shared work of forming, fashioning and forging.
I am excited for the ways in which the Body of Christ will be strengthened as we work together! As you have ideas about creative ways to connect, I would love to hear them. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 614-309-2150. Your creativity matters! Blessings on you all!
Rev. Dave Long-Higgins, Transitional Conference Minister