God is loose at Bethlehem!
One of my favorite musicians, Peter Mayer, has a song called “Loose in the world” that has been stuck in my head ever since the Transformational Ministry training event a few weeks ago. “Hey, hey, this mercy moves. Hey, hey, God is loose in the world.” It was just those two lines, over and over, as I worked and visited, as I spent time in our neighborhood, as prayed and preached. “Hey, hey, God is loose in the world.”
To be honest, I thought the Transformation process was going to be a tough sell. That somehow those of us passionate about seeking where God was calling us to go, and trying to figure out what God wants of Bethlehem Lutheran Church, would have to convince the rest of y’all that this was a good thing to be spending time and energy on. But I was forgetting that this church isn’t our church, it’s God’s church. The ministry and service we do here isn’t our ministry and service, but it’s God’s. “Hey, hey, God is loose in the world” like a voice from heaven, God is calling us to remember why we are here, and what we’re really about. Rather than a lot of convincing, when the Transformation Team got back from being trained, we found God has already been working on us all, preparing us for where we are being led.
It’s been amazing to me to watch what the Holy Spirit is already doing among us, the way that we are already being transformed by God, and shaped more and more into disciples of Christ. In the Book of Acts, the apostle Peter preaches to the crowds of the newly formed Church, saying when the Spirit is poured out upon you the young will see visions and the old will dream dreams. I’ve seen the Holy Spirit transform Bethlehem into a place where young and old together are dreaming about God’s future for us. We have been openly sharing our fears and anxieties, while at the same time being bold about what it might be that God has in store for us.
In a short two weeks, I’ve seen people in this place praying together, reading the Bible together, sharing stories of the way God has been working in their lives. I’ve seen quiet lives of faith opened up, perhaps for the first time, and others drinking deeply from these wells. I’ve seen the Holy Spirit opening up people’s minds to gifts that they didn’t even know they had, and calling them to use those gifts in ministry. I’ve seen people thinking of new ways to connect to what God is doing in the world, stepping outside of the walls of our church and into the world that God loves so deeply. “Hey, hey, God is loose in the world!”
My favorite verse in Peter Mayer’s song goes like this: “The word went leaping off the pages. Breaking in the windows and leaping over walls. All you asked for was a cool glass of water. And you got a waterfall.” God is doing amazing things among us, transforming us into a new people, giving us depth of prayer, immersing us in his Word, and sending us out to be ambassadors of what God is up to in the world. We ask for a sip of new life, and God gives an overflowing cup. And I don’t think we are going to be able to stop it even if we wanted to. We’ve let the Holy Spirit loose among us, so hang on folks, I have a feeling this is going to be an amazing ride