I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:6-7
St. Paul's words to Timothy sum up well what the year 2010 meant to me as a minister of St. Paul's United Church. The congregation kindly and generously allowed me sabbatical time and it proved to be, for me, the kind of rekindling St. Paul envisioned for Timothy. It was a 'conversion' time for me in the Wesleyan sense of that word - a time when the assurance of the Love of God and the Truth of the Gospel lodged again deep in my heart.
I've returned to our life together with both greater urgency and calm: urgency for the Gospel to be known in, among, and through us, and calm in God's abiding presence.
I've returned with renewed concern about the conscious practice of faith through spiritual disciplines:
worship in community
seasons and festivals
Jesus was not vague or lackadaisical about discipleship. Christianity is about practising a Way thereby growing deeper in our relationship with God and fuller in our humanity as children of God.
I've returned with renewed concern about how we understand discipleship. There is form and balance with love of God and love of neighbour being expressed both individually and in community. This is the life of discipleship envisioned by Jesus:
There is a worldwide movement to reclaim the ancient ways for our modern day - a 'new monasticism' some call it. There is a Rule of Life for our community (from our Methodist heritage):
Do no harm
Stay in Love with God
This radical understanding will lead to radical change in the life of our community -more than anything we can ask or imagine.