Reflections on Faith
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
In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. (Mark 1:35)
Allow me to share with you what I will be doing this week. When you read this, I will be in Indiana at a 7 day gathering called Presbyterian CREDO. Their website describes it as a conference designed to help pastors “cultivate their spiritual, vocational, health, and financial well-being, as well as their leadership potential.” It also says that CREDO is:
- an intentional Christ-centered community
- a living stream with a sustainable spirit
- a work of the heart, mind, body, and spirit
- a four-step life cycle process of identity, discernment, practice, and transformation
It is organized by our denomination’s benefits group, The Board of Pensions, and you have to be invited in order to go. I was invited many years ago, but I passed on it. My friends who have attended told me to never do that again, so I promised myself to accept if I were to ever be invited again.
Now that I find myself in the middle season of my pastoral career, I also find myself reflecting a great deal on my own faith, my calling as a pastor, and life in general. I am sure that is simply part of being middle-aged. I don’t necessarily expect to come away with a profound new understanding of myself or for the week to reveal miraculous things, but I do hope it will serve the purpose it is intended to serve, whatever that may be. I guess I find myself being open to God’s still small voice. I picture Jesus in that kind of posture when Mark talks about him going away to pray alone. I too will be spending a week in prayer. It is important for pastors to do that, and, truth be told, we rarely get the chance. I am looking forward to this experience. See you in a week.
Published on 03/08/2018 @ 10:02 PM CDT
Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me!” (Mark 8:32-33)
How often have you tried to assert yourself when you probably shouldn’t? How many times have you assumed you were in charge only to find out that your assumption was wrong? Certainly there are times when we should be assertive and take charge, like when we are in danger or are in a risky situation. Other than that, though, perhaps we don’t need to assert ourselves as much as we might think. I have come to believe that most of life is a lesson in humility.
Peter finds this out big time. Jesus has been talking about how he will undergo suffering and rejection and death, and Peter will have none of it. In a moment of assumed authority, Peter steps out front, takes charge, and gives Jesus what for. I can’t say that I would have acted any different. None of what Peter does here surprises me. What does surprise me, however, is Jesus’s response. “Get behind me,” he says, not “you’re wrong” or “don’t be ridiculous”, but “get behind me.” Rather than explain to him why he is wrong, Jesus simply, and sternly, reminds Peter of his place.
Just when we think that we are in control or are the ones who are supposed to be out front making decisions and barking orders, God shows us our place in this life. Spiritually speaking, our place is behind Jesus, following his lead.
Published on 03/05/2018 @ 1:33 PM CDT
Let’s not forget that this covenant God makes with Noah directly follows the greatest destruction God ever inflicted on the world. And so we are reminded of both. Yes, God is merciful and God is gracious, but it is all on God’s terms. Everything that has come before us, everything that is in front of us now, and everything that is yet to come is all up to God. It is up to God start to finish. As Brueggemann puts it, “We people of faith do not have life on our terms. Like Noah who walks off of the ark into a whole new future, we too have to decide that we will walk into the future on terms other than our own. We too have to decide if we are willing to live on God’s terms.
Published on 02/25/2018 @ 9:07 PM CDT
Published on 02/19/2018 @ 9:34 PM CDT
In both of these events, I was reminded of what people of faith do. We choose compassion.
Published on 02/13/2018 @ 8:44 AM CDT