It’s over. The darkness, the ice, the cold, the wondering whether winter will ever give way to spring; it’s all over. Just when we thought we couldn’t take any more, the sun came out, a warm breeze blew and the blossoms began to open with the promise of a new beginning. This is what spring feels like: a new year; another chance to play, learn, grow.
This is what spring feels like: A convergence of like-hearted friends from across the eastern United States – Indiana, Tennessee, Detroit, DC, Philadelphia, Missouri, and parts of Ohio. A gathering bubbling with hope for the new thing that we sense the Holy Spirit doing in our lives, our communities, and our neighborhoods. A circle of friends who are ready to take risks together. We’re embracing failure as a chance to learn, and watching for opportunities to multiply the ways we get it right.
At the Spring Gathering of the Friends of Jesus Fellowship this past weekend, we explored the ways in which we are called to live in the power of the Spirit. We faced our fears and need for security, our busyness and obligation, and the relationships that we are so afraid we might lose if we take the radical steps that we sense Jesus calling us to. We took a long look at the challenges before us, and then turned to God to show us the way of faithfulness, peace, abundant life in the Spirit.
A door is opening. We are arriving at a new moment of fresh possibilities. This is a time when the positive change and renewal that, though even a few years ago seemed impossible, are now emerging as the holy work of our time. Where the old structures have become empty forms, the Spirit is inviting us to imagine new ones. Where the last century’s ways of seeing, feeling, thinking, doing are breaking down and no longer seem to function, God is empowering us to look with new eyes, to have our minds renewed and our hearts filled with wonder and creativity.
We are entering a time period where God is making all things new, and will do so in outward ways that no one can miss. It is a time for the culture wars to cease, as we labor together in the way of Jesus, which breaks down the dividing walls between “Right” and “Left.” It is time for the pitched battle between generations to come to an end, as well. The opportunity of this key moment demands the full gifts, personality, and keen imagination of every generation – Boomers, Xers, Millennials, and those younger and older, too. We’re all in this together.
This is the invitation that we are experiencing as God gathers the Friends of Jesus, across geographical boundaries, (non)religious backgrounds, and generational identities. It is an invitation to speed up our experimentation and slow down our lives, to be present to one another and to the living presence of Christ among us. Emerging from an age of big words and timid action, we sense an opportunity to allow our actions to speak louder than words.
We are just beginning to awaken to this new opening. Jesus is once again gathering a people, a community that will have an out-sized impact on the world around us. Like leaven in the dough, light on a lampstand, or salt in a meal, we are being invited to make a little count for a lot. We can participate in the new creation that Christ is accomplishing. This kingdom is established through his love for us, our love for one another, and the love that we demonstrate to the people we encounter every day.
These are the first days of spring. It is a tender time, and we don’t always know what we are doing. But we are trying to stay humble, adaptive, and attentive to the gentle nudgings of the living Spirit of God. Trusting in her, we long to be the grass that emerges from beneath the snow, eager to greet the light.
Can you sense this new season? Is the snow melting where you are? How can we join together, to partner in this new time of growth in the Spirit?
Your prayers are an important way that we are connected together in this time of great change. Crisis and opportunity seem to go hand in hand, and prayers for both are greatly needed! In this season, please pray that:
- God will kindle the hearts of women and men throughout our land to take up the work of establishing new communities and ministries that demonstrate the emerging kingdom. Let us be the tender shoots of Christ’s love that emerge in these early days of spring.
- The Friends of Jesus Fellowship will be strengthened and knit together in the Holy Spirit. May each of our existing communities be built up and taught how to become fellowships that make disciples, not religious consumers.
- Our communities be connected to and supported by the wider Religious Society of Friends, and the Body of Christ as a whole. May our efforts as Friends of Jesus have a positive impact in catalyzing renewal within the wider Body, as well.
How God is drawing you into this work of restoration and rebirth? Let us know how we can be praying for you in this time of new hope and promise.
In love and friendship,