I’m writing to you in the early morning silence at the American Martyrs Retreat Center near Cedar Falls before Rich, Brigit, Laura, Katherine, and I begin the last morning of our annual Conference staff retreat.
We’ve had time to worship together and eat together, to laugh a lot and cry a little and to share heart-opening stories. We’ve also been working at an important piece of the ministries offered with you and for you in the Iowa Conference of the United Church of Christ: to stop, to look, and to wonder.
As a child with a new camera, I wanted to take pictures from the car window while my dad was driving us down the highway. When the film was developed, my envelope of photos contained quite a few blurry images of what I’d been drawn toward along the road. In those days, with that camera, you had to get out of the car to take a good picture. If I still had a few shots of highway blurs, those photos would be among my prayer things, prompting the spiritual discipline of pulling over at times to get a clearer picture. I invite you, as a bold follower of Jesus and as congregations of bold Jesus followers, to be purposeful about times to pull over for time to look and wonder.
How many times have each of us been in conversations with our dear ones that stretched from the question, “Did you see …?” I imagine we have all been amazed a lot in our lives at what others see that we miss. And what we see that where to buy clomid online others miss. When two pairs of eyes (hearts, minds) are looking, or four, or twenty, or even the eyes of a whole congregation or a whole Conference, more is seen and less is missed. In our collaborations and conversations these beautiful summer days, we’ve had opportunities to see more and miss less, blessed by others’ visions. I invite you, as congregations of bold Jesus followers, to the holy work of looking together at the life and work of your congregations and even of the covenant connection of congregations that is the Iowa Conference.
We get awfully busy. A pretty wall calendar won’t serve for most of us. We spend an awful lot of time juggling tasks and commitments and obligations, our own needs and wants and the needs and wants of others. We can spend such an awful amount of time tasking that we miss necessary wondering. We can spend such an awful amount of time doing that we miss crucial wondering about what we do and why we do it.
These hours together have been rich for us in wondering about what we do and why we do it and how the body of Christ will move in days we will not see. I invite you, as congregations of bold Jesus followers, to make time on full church calendars for the holy, crucial work of wondering – about your congregations’ holy work, about what you do and why you do it and about how the body of Christ will move in and through your community in days beyond our own.
—Jonna Jensen, Associate Conference Minister