Starting in High School and all through College, I spent at least one week every summer on the Russian River, north of San Francisco in a canoe. I know something about rowing. I know what it feels like to have to get yourself from one point to another on your own energy, your own steam. I know what it feels like to be tired after rowing for a really long time. I know what it is to be rowing up stream against the wind.
I don’t know as much about sailing. I’m not a sailor, although I’ve been on sailboats. I’ve been told what to do, where to stand, sit or duck. I’ve watched the wind move a beautiful vessel across the ocean or lake. When a sailboat is going, the movement and power are something to behold.
The Christian church has often used the image of a boat for the church. In her book Sailboat Church, Presbyterian pastor and author Joan Gray challenges us to think about what it would look like for us to row less and let the Spirit move us more. Calling us to prayer and times of discernment, Pastor Gray calls us to think about where we are rowing and where we are letting the Spirit move us.
The Spirit is a gift to each of us and to the church especially. You might remember that the word that is used in scripture for wind and life-giving breath is the same word that is used for the Holy Spirit, (Ruach in the Old Testament and Nooma in the New Testament). The Spirit moves over the waters in Genesis, and brings life into Adams lungs. It’s the Spirit who comes over the disciples at Pentecost and it is the same Spirit, the Advocate Jesus promises us in John chapter 14. And it is the Spirit who moves the church still.
Our Elders and Deacons have been reading Pastor Gray‘s book this summer (you can pick one up in my office) and are gathering around it on the 13th of October.. Please pray for them, pray for us as a church that we would know when to row, and that we would know when to let the Spirit move us – helping us to trust and sail where God is leading.
Moving out from the retreat on the 13th, we as a church will enter a time of prayer. For 40 days, we as a community will invite the Spirit into our days and weeks, into our lives and ministry. Look for your prayer sheets and/or prayer emails. My sermon on the 14th will highlight pieces of our retreat and focus on our call to prayer. I’m excited to see where the Spirit will move us in and through this time. And as always, I’m thankful we are all in this boat doing God’s work together.
~ Pastor’s Office Hours ~
You can find Sharyl in her office Tuesday & Wednesday 10 AM-2PM and always available by appointment. She is in her office other times each week but these are set aside for conversation, questions and prayer. Have you seen her cross collection? Stop in a have a cup of tea and conversation.
She’d love to hear your questions, opinions, stories and welcome you.
Fridays are her day off but of course ~ call if you have a pastoral emergency.