Reflections from the Leadership Team

Published on Feb 16th, 2022 by wpd-office | 0
Whose View . . . Toward What Horizon?
The last three weeks I’ve been trying what I hope will become a periodic pattern for the year – traveling to churches other than my own for a Sunday gathering and worship experience. Whenever I do that, I almost always learn something, and it’s usually good.

Moderator Sarah Hoffman Mason’s district conference theme for 2022 is
“Through the Eyes of a Child.” As I make visits, I try to expand that idea to the eyes of all God’s children, whether age 2, age 102, or somewhere between.

It is news to no one that as a faith community we experience differences in what we see and hear and believe to be truth. I hope one belief we all hold, however, is that as Brethren we examine scripture and beliefs as a shared search in community, with the purpose of discerning their meaning for us. Proverbs 20 reminds us that we have “a hearing ear and a seeing eye, the Lord has made them both.”  If we sincerely use both, it can help us better understand another. But if we risk the act of seeing through the eyes of another, stepping into the hearing ear and the seeing eye of the other person, we may also see ourselves with new eyes and make new discoveries about our relationship with others. It’s admittedly a disruptive thing to have to do, seeing through another’s eyes, but I’m sometimes interested in the light bulbs that flicker on when I force myself to do that!

As we listen to discourse in the public square of our day, it indeed seems a tall order to expect that we be of one mind. Yet Paul’s appeal to the Philippians (2:2-5) is exactly that – to “be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.”

Perhaps it’s not productive or realistic to expect that we’re all going to be of same mind on everything. What I do hope is possible is for us to search together for some key essentials of our faith life that can tie us together — beliefs and practices that have long been at the core of Brethren testimonies and supersede the things on which we may not agree. There are too many things where the “whole” we can build is greater than the sum of us as parts. We need to be on a collective search for those things.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. once said “I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving.” At its August 28 meeting, your district Leadership Team set in motion a structure and a process which we anticipate will focus intentional time this year on our purpose as a district and plans for our way forward. Who are we and who can we become as Brethren with a heritage rooted in discipleship and reconciliation as a body of Christ?

As we try to focus on the direction we are moving rather than just on where we stand, how will we see Christ in each other and how can we see ourselves through the eyes of others? It promises to be an exciting journey indeed, not without some discomfort perhaps, and not without seeing a horizon that may look different than we initially contemplated. I hope it will, however, be a horizon that is a worthy reflection of the aspirations of Ephesians 4:2&3 – with humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Lowell Flory
District Leadership Team Chair

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