Seasons of the Spirit ~ SeasonsFUSION

Lectionary resources for worship, faith formation, and service

Sustaining Ministry

February 5, 2012      Mark 1:29-­39

“How did it get to be January 31 already!” I wrote in an email today. “The year is beginning as the 2011 ended, like a speeding train!”

I turned to the worship, learning and serving materials in SeasonsFUSION for February 5, and found them connecting and intersecting with my life.

Here are some of the connecting points.

“2012 is gathering pace and many are once again falling into patterns of busyness, filling days and nights with relentless activity, and perhaps many are tired so early in  the year”

begins the Focus for Worship, Learning and Serving on page 151. I read on,

“God calls us to be active in God’s mission, but God also calls us to rest, to enter the stillness in which we can hear God’s voice, be ministered to, and be restored by God’s peace.”

“For joy is the centre of ministry.
Joy should precede ministry,
nurture it and fulfill it.”

writes Edwina Gateley in the poem “Balance” on page 155.

“We are only to walk with each other
be with each other,
God’s is the healing, the growing and the fulfilling.”

“The woman described as Simon’s mother-in-law has been lifted up and her spirit renewed. Immediately she got up and ministered to Jesus. This is reciprocal ministry.

  • In what ways might we as individual disciples and as the church be this woman for others?
  • In what ways does the church provide opportunities for soul-care? How might it do better?”

is the wisdom shared and questions asked  on Reflection on the Word on page 151

  • “What is it that sustains you in everyday living – your responsibilities, employment, school, care, serving?”

I have been thinking about, and giving thanks for, the communities of practice who inspire, support, create, shape Seasons of the Spirit. The creativity, energy, wisdom, and heart of these communities bubble and ripple from the development events, through the writing and editing stages and into the communities who gather on Sundays.

I placed my experience of the development process alongside the story in Mark 1:29–39. Jesus goes into the home of one of his disciples, and the interaction releases and renews a ministry. Simon’s mother-in-law gets up and serves. The verb Diakonein used, suggests that something more is happening than serving as a host might serve. Jesus, is also lifted up and his spirit is renewed.

Materials emanating from the heart/core of local congregations is a unique gift to and from Seasons of the Spirit. Each quarter a different congregation hosts a development event. There are three categories of participants: key writers, “secondary” writers, and volunteer voices that lend insight and wisdom.

Here are some quotes from participants at past development events.

“The opportunity to brainstorm and begin to create the Seasons of the Spirit resources in community is so special and unique from any other brainstorming process I have been part of. Thinking creatively about worship and the life of the church community in community brings the richness of experience of everyone involved and reveals new and relevant insights from different people’s experiences. This process is a gift from our writing community to your church community and a gift to each of us who created Seasons of Creation and Pentecost 2, 2012” ~ Barbara Wheeler, Christ Church United Methodist, NYC.

“I entered the process of developing Pentecost 1 (2013) with some trepidation; however, I soon became very engaged and the creative juices started flowing. It was fun and fulfilling to work with the energy of the group. After three days I gained an insight on how I might improve my own Bible study skills. Thanks. ~ David Pelton, Admiral Congregational UCC, Seattle.

“As part of the Abbotsford Group, can I thank Seasons for involving us. It was a wonderful, if challenging, experience and I hope the writers will find our input helpful. Can’t wait to see the finished product.” ~ Michael Davidson, Abbotsford Church of Scotland, Clydebank UK

Perhaps your church would like to host a development create a season or quarter of materials. If so, please make contact.

I am grateful for the privilege of working alongside local congregations, being lifted up, sustained, my spirit renewed, and my eyes opened to new ways of being church.

  • What is your experience of reciprocal ministry?
  • What in the materials for this week speak to or intersect with your life?
  • What will be your approach this Sunday?
“I am called to minister for my own joy.
When my joy diminishes, so does my ministry.
When I have fun and enjoy myself
God does!
Then I am most like God – who is Joy?”

Balance by Edwina Gateley. Copyright © Edwina Gateley,
p. 155 SeasonsFUSION Advent, Christmas Epiphany

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