Rev. Martha Jacobs
What Do We Want God to Do For Us?
Psalm 139: 1-18, 23-34, The Gospel of Mark 10:46-52
October 1, 2017
What a question Jesus asks Bartimaeus – what do you want me to do for you? I guess Bartimaeus could have asked for wealth or food or any number of things that he was in need of. But, instead he asks to see. And Jesus tells him that he is healed – that his faith has healed him.
Our faith is more powerful than we sometimes realize. This morning, we are embarking on a new part of our faith journey together, which will hopefully remind us of the power of our faith especially as a faith community, bound together by Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
Many of you may be aware that FCC offers its ministers an opportunity to be renewed and refreshed by a 3 month sabbatical every 5 years. To me, this illustrates that this congregation knows that its ministers need time to reconnect with God, Jesus and God’s Spirit as well as with our families. In the past, I understand that clergy have done a variety of things.
Well, when I was at the preaching conference in May, I saw the possibility for a program of reflection, renewal and growth that is available not only to me, but to you too! I was excited by the possibilities this offers to FCC and so I am bringing it to the congregation for your consideration.
The Lilly Foundation offers grants for up to $50,000 for clergy and their congregation to work together on a program that will benefit both of us! The main requirement is that we both have to come up with a plan that will benefit all of us. So, while I am gone for 3 months, you all would be working on what you think God wants you to do that dovetails with what I will be doing so that when we come back together, God’s Spirit is continuing to move through all of us and will take us to someplace new.
I don’t know what that place is, nor do you – but over the next several months we are going to be engaging together in seeking to discover what that might look like.
The nuts and bolts: this application must be in at the beginning of April, 2018 for my sabbatical that will occur the fall of 2019. There is a small group of members of our church who are already working with us on this – they will help us write the grant, figure out the financial aspects, etc. They are Chrissy Chapin, Ed Prohl, Sue Hacker, Paul Warren and Kathy Thorsberg and I am so grateful that they were willing to answer a call to help us with this.
The congregational portion of the $50k is up to $15k, which can be used to bring various people in to work with you, for administrative costs of covering for me while I am gone, or any number of other things. We can be as creative as the Spirit moves us to be. There are lots of other nuts and bolts involved but the most important part is that the congregation MUST support this and be involved. So over the next few months, there will be meetings to envision what you might want to do and to hear more from me about where I believe God’s spirit is moving me for my sabbatical time. But, before you hear from me, I would like to hear from you. This morning, Sue Hacker has agreed to take some notes for the committee.
So, as I have talked and given you some basic information about this sabbatical grant, what came up in you? What ideas, thoughts, come to mind? What might we want God to do us at FCC while I am on sabbatical?