Authentic Nurture

Jesus said where two or three are gathered in His name, He is there, in the midst of them.  Something happens when Christ is present.  This “something” happens beyond our agendas, beyond our plans.  We participate in it but can’t really take credit for creating it.  It’s a Holy spirit experience.  Sometimes its dramatic, like a call to action.  Sometimes it’s subtle, like a lift in our mood, a flash of insight.  But it’s always life-giving.

The Presbytery leadership began this year with our annual retreat.   More than a dozen gathered in the name of Christ and “something” happened…we were nurtured.  We came together to discern, to plan, and pray.  We laughed, we studied, we sang.  The Spirit moved among us.  We felt the divine difference that Jesus makes.

We reflected on our mission as a Presbytery; to Celebrate, Nurture, and Serve, our communities by our life together in Jesus Christ.  We emerged with a focus…NURTURE.  This year, 2018, the Leadership is inviting you, brothers and sisters in the Presbytery, to focus on NURTURE.  Let Nurture be our spiritual discipline.

Our desire is to facilitate and create nurturing experiences for church members, lay leaders and pastors.  Some ideas include: positive good-news communications, hosting conversations of mutual respect, and sponsoring fun/playful events, and there are more.   Your feedback is vital.  Share with the leadership what nurtures you.

It’s time for Presbytery of San Francisco to become the Presbytery we know we are meant to be.  Let’s be known as the place where you feel the love of Christ.

Nurture is more than the practice of ‘being nice.’  It is living counter culture.  It is the ministry of confronting the incessant hate and negativity in this world, with the unstoppable love of Christ.  I heard a sermon recently by our Stated Clerk, J Herbert Nelson, during which he said…. “The world does not know how to forgive itself nor how to forgive one another.”   We children of God know something about forgiveness.  God has entrusted us with the antidote for fear, and the balm for a broken and bitter heart… the nurturing love of Jesus Christ.

Our audacious hope is that, is that if we steadfastly gather in His name, that “something” extraordinary will happen, that everyone in Presbytery could feel the authentic nurture of Christ.  More, this felt sense that we are loved children of God will be like an epicenter of a spiritual awakening.  That the Nurture of Jesus Christ will ripple through our 68 congregations, infecting our communities with the hope of the Gospel.

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, and grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” 

(from 1 Thessalonians 5: 11, Ephesians 4:32 and 2 Peter 3:18)

For your reflection:
Consider a time when you felt nurtured by the love of Christ.  What does Christ’s authentic nurture feel like for you? 

 

~Rev. Jeff Hutcheson, Ph.D
February  9, 2018

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