Whenever we travel, we might send postcards and take pictures. It is one way we account for where we have been. It helps us take memories and share stories so we do not lose them along the way. We need reminders of the places and the people which have shaped our faith.
Along the journey, we have places and people which stand out as significant for our journey. We give thanks for these places and people, and we are thankful for what we have received along the way, which we can now give away to others. Gifts are meant to be shared, particularly the gifts of faith!
Wayne Muller reminds us, “The fruit contains the seed, and the seed contains the fruit.” The people and places which have planted the seeds of faith in our lives, produce the fruit. This fruit can become the seeds of faith in other people’s lives. I am thankful for all of the seeds and fruit we find at Auburn First Baptist, as we gather for worship, go out to serve, or lean on one another throughout the shared journey of life!
I am writing these words several days before I will depart for my Sabbath Study Leave. I am grateful for the opportunity to plant seeds and cultivate fruit this summer. It will give me an opportunity for focused study and sustained reflection on our ministry together. It is a gift for which I cannot express my full gratitude!
I will miss our shared rhythms of faith while I am away, and I will look forward to returning to Auburn at the end of the summer. I will be away from May 24 – July 26. I will study the theology of creation and reflect on the changing religious landscape around the church, as I visit National Parks and National Forests, while cultivating conversations with others.
When I return, I promise not to share too many pictures or postcards. I hope to share the gifts of renewal and study, as we continue to build community and serve community together! I am thankful to the staff and lay leadership of the church for all they will do this summer while I am away. I will take a postcard from Auburn and a picture of this congregation with me, as I am thankful for this place and its people!