This week there are very few students on campus, and Mary is off at the Youth and Family Ministry Association retreat, and so I took a little time to lengthen my usual walk around campus and the neighborhood surrounding our church location. I try to do these little walks every week to some extent, and while I walk I pray.
I keep my prayer list on hand, but I also pray this prayer: “Lord, show me what You’re doing here so I can join You if you’ll have me.” If we really believe thatJesus is Lord over all, we believe that He is already “on mission” in the world around us. We would be foolhardy to believe that our mission is somehow just the construct of our wild imaginations. If our mission WAS just a product of our imagination, it would not be God’s mission, and we would be failing from the beginning.
So I walk around. I look at buildings and at people. I pray for them and I pray that God would somehow use me in serving them. Sometimes I get depressed doing this. I think to myself, “there is so much to do, too much for me alone” and/or “I’m too old/white/uncool/etc” to work in this situation or this persons’ life. How could God use me? How could God use the church I pastor?
Of course the problem with those depressing thoughts are found in the fact that they center around me. They are as self-centered as the frustrating statement “the church is here to serve me”, aka “a bless-me church”. God doesn’t want us to be self-centered. He Himself isn’t self-centered. Even when it comes to who He is at His ontological core, God is “other-centered” – He is Trinity, comprised of always having “another”.
So it is good to get out every now and again, to walk around and to just pray “Show me what you’re doing here, Lord. Show me where You already are. I am willing to be other centered. I want You to be the prime “Other” that my life is centered on, and I want You to show me where You can use me in the lives of the “anothers” that I come into contact with. Show me what You’re already doing so that I can join You. Amen.”