Christian discernment is making a judgment about a path in life or where we sense (important word) where God is leading. Ignatius of Loyola is attributed with developing a process of discernment which many Christians today find meaningful and useful.
Ignatius believed that human feelings (sensation) were instrumental in discerning God’s intentions. Balancing the consolations (comforting feelings) and desolations (uncomfortable feelings) leads to an awakening to God’s purposes.
Calvin church has been in an extended season of discernment since Graham Standish left last October. My arrival in January didn’t end that season, it extended it. The Exodus story can be helpful in times of real and spiritual sojourn. Calvin church, like the people Israel, is being led to a new place in their history and we cannot see the end of the journey. Some may want to go back to the way things were; some will be fearful of the trek; some will be excited about the possibilities of being somewhere different.
Interim ministry is, in large measure, based on the Exodus model
And some will harbor uncomfortable feelings while others will feel good about the travel into the unknown. Whatever the sensing, we proclaim that God is with s and God always leads where God needs us to be.
As Presbyterians, we follow an orderly process in the conviction that we honor God in such intentional processes. Unlike other communities who are more freeform, we Presbyterians value the orderliness of discerning God’s will for our future.
Israel wandered for forty years. They weren’t lost or wasting time. God intended them to learn who they were and what mattered most as God’s people. Interim ministry is, in large measure, based on the Exodus model: A congregation really doesn’t know where God is leading but they trust it is to a good place, and getting that good place takes time.
When you get anxious about the interim process and want things to “hurry up” please be mindful that God is with you in the good times and the bad times and that God’s ultimate will is for your future. And sometimes things take time. This work isn’t “fast food faith” but slow-cooked spirituality. As you Executive Chef (aka Interim Pastor), I’ll keep the heat on and will adjust it as needed.