Reflections on Faith and Community
In this blog, you will find weekly reflections on life and faith. My hope is that, in some way, they will prove helpful to you in your daily living. May God bless you on the spiritual journey.
Andrew S. Odom
Is there any place I can go to avoid your Spirit? to be out of your sight? If I climb to the sky, you’re there! If I go underground, you’re there! If I flew on morning’s wings to the far western horizon, You’d find me in a minute—you’re already there waiting! (Psalm 139:7-10)
Sunday evening, the CCPC youth were given an assignment. They may not realize that they were actually given an assignment, but they were. What was it? Look for God in a place you never expected. The youth went together as a group to see Captain Marvel, the latest movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. For them, I’m sure it simply felt like another fun even together, seeing a popular movie. But next Sunday, Chris Lee will join them to talk about the underlying theology of a movie like that. In other words, they are going to talk about seeing God in the story of the movie.
The psalmist talks like it is not possible to not see God. If I climb to the sky, you’re there! If I go underground, you’re there! If I go see Captain Marvel, you’re already there waiting. Having the eyes of the psalmist is to have the kind of eyes that see God everywhere, even in the most unlikely of places. My grandfather used to talk about “seeing the world through the eyes of God.” So often, we walk out of church and turn off our “God thinking.” We stop looking for God. The psalmist challenges us to do the exact opposite, looking for God absolutely everywhere. I’m sure this Sunday’s conversation will be a good one, but the greater gift it will give is the gift of having eyes that actually look, all the time, everywhere.
Published on 03/18/2019 @ 7:11 PM CDT
We have some very special, and spiritually powerful, Sunday mornings coming up. Celebration Sunday is one of them. I look forward to being part of it with you.
Published on 03/11/2019 @ 8:30 PM CDT
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. (Luke 4:1)
This year as a church, we are paying closer attention to the church year than we often do. The year of the church is designed to follow the events of the life of Jesus Christ. You might say that with each year that passes, we experience the full life, death, and resurrection of the Christ our Lord.
This week, we begin the season of Lent, a period of forty days (not including Sundays) in which we remember the forty days Jesus was tempted in the wilderness by the devil. Similar to the way in which Advent prepares us for the birth of Jesus, Lent is intended to prepare us for the death of Jesus. We spend the season in prayer and reflection on our own mortality that culminates during Holy Week as we stand at the foot of the cross. It is only then that we are able to receive the great Easter resurrection surprise.
Tomorrow evening at 6:30 in the Sanctuary, we will begin Lent with a service of ashes. I hope you are able to be there. There is something very powerful about the act of having ashes placed on one’s forehead. It communicates mortality in a way not much else can. I can never quite put a finger on it, other than to say that we need to be reminded of our own foibles and humanity just as much as we need to be reminded of God’s great goodness to us in Jesus Christ. Lent encapsulates both of these realities. It begins tomorrow.
Published on 03/05/2019 @ 7:37 AM CDT
For six years you shall sow your field, and for six years you shall prune your vineyard and gather in its fruits, but in the seventh year there shall be a Sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a Sabbath to the Lord. (Leviticus 25:3-4)
From the first chapter of Genesis, rest has been part of the rhythm of a life of faith. God rested, and God wants us to rest. Leviticus 25 also speaks about the Sabbath year, or sabbatical. One would work the land for seven years, then rest for a year, opening up their land to the community for that year. I imagine everyone staggering their Sabbath year so that when they took their year, they could depend on others to sustain them. Over time, the practice of a sabbatical was shortened to more like three months, another good biblical number. Canyon Creek includes a sabbatical for pastors during or after the seventh year. Believe it or not, I completed seven years in 2018.
On February 19th, the Session received my sabbatical plan from the personnel committee and approved it. So, I will be taking a sabbatical this year beginning June 3 and ending August 18. My plan includes time for recreation, rest, research, reading, and renewal. Some of the highlights include a course on music and worship at Brite Seminary in Fort Worth, travel time with family, researching the possibility of a Doctor of Ministry degree in the next 1-3 years, prayer and devotion, worshiping in other churches, reading scripture and other books, and finally some unscheduled time. While I am gone, Rev. Lee and Rev. Dittman will take on shared responsibilities for preaching and weekly administration.
I have never had a sabbatical before, so this is new for me and a bit out of my comfort zone. That, in and of itself, is probably why I should do it. Rest is an important piece in life, and I am grateful to serve a congregation who wants their pastors to be rested and healthy. Thank you so much for that.
Published on 02/26/2019 @ 8:09 AM CDT
Published on 02/19/2019 @ 7:54 AM CDT