The last two days have been brought to you by ...
The words Church and Vision.
And the letters M and S.
Let me explain.
Yesterday was the second Thames Valley MSM (Mission Shaped Ministry) day at CMS Oxford. We were thinking about the mission of God, missional values and the Vision we have for the Church in the future and our role in that. Despite not having enough vision to read the slides or handouts the day was inspiring and set off all sorts of new ideas in my head. I came home clear that I'm called to be part of many others bringing forth God's Vision for the Church and the World of all encompassing love and acceptance.
Then today I was with the teenagers at church and we were thinking about the attacks in Paris and Beirut and Baghdad and about how we need to be bold in our faith. I was challenged in our time of prayer to be bold in my faith in God to heal; to heal my vision, heal the injured, heal the grieving, heal the world. And for the first time, encouraged by one of our newer church members, I prayed for specific healing of my vision, trusting that God can do that.
Throughout the morning in Church today it was clear how little vision I have thanks to MS.
- I couldn't tell where the side aisle was and so had to go down the main aisle instead.
- I couldn't see space at the dais but, without realising the blessing they were, someone moved to let me in to receive.
- I couldn't see the cup properly and was worried I'd spill the wine, but the server was another blessing and made sure it was all OK.
- Then when I'd received I turned around and could not figure out where to go at all; I just couldn't see seats or even the aisle. But I could see the kids at the front so I went towards them and sat next to them.
- As the hymn was announced I realised I couldn't see the hymn board and then quickly realised I couldn't see the hymn book. But it was "shine Jesus shine" and I know every word to that so it didn't matter.
There I was, in the Church I know and love and minister in; yet due to my vision loss I could have felt lost and separate from everyone else. But I didn't and I wasn't; because people care and l wasn't alone and I wasn't afraid. I was supported, encouraged and prayed for.
This weekend I have been energised by the vision and practice of MSM in our church. We ARE a mission shaped church with a vision to welcome, love and support each other and our community. Although I have been affected by MS this weekend, I have not been depleted or defeated by it; and I won't be.
This post is also online at my main blog LLM Calling where I've been blogging for 8 years about all things motherhood, ministry, mental health and more.