Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Pastor Tom Ryberg--November/December Congregationalist

“But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exhile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” (Jeremiah 29:7)
When was the last time you took a walk just for the sake of looking around? Until this past week, I can’t remember that last time I did. 

Whenever I walk, I’m going somewhere in particular. From home to church is about fifteen minutes. From church to Brownstone Coffee is about five. Or if I’m walking to the hospital from church, it’s ten minutes. When I walk, it’s with the purpose of getting somewhere.
But last week, walking was its own purpose. I met Sue Day and Dan Byrd at the Walgreen on the corner of Capital and Emmett, and we started off on a prayer walk. We did so as participants in the small ReVision groups in order to help discern what lies ahead for FCCBC (prayer walks are part of that process.) These walks consist of picking a neighborhood and walking for about thirty minutes, paying attention to what we see and praying blessings as we go. “Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you…”

Sue, Dan and I, we walked past an elementary school, a small muddy pond, several neighborhood homes, an elderly woman with three small children in tow. One beautifully manicured home had an ironic juxtaposition of signs ranging from “WELCOME!” to “NO TRESPASSING!” to “KEEP OFF THE GRASS!” One home had a huge tree stump outside of it. Several had Halloween decorations already up. We maintained an easy pace, not trying to cover particular ground but simply experience what came our way. Before long, it was time to turn back.

Something about this prayer walk and walking as its own purpose, made the time pass both more slowly and more calmly. It was a peaceful experience, and after even thirty minutes I felt a sense of gratitude and deeper connection to this small area of northern Battle Creek. I felt a sense of hope for the welfare of this corner of my community and pride at being a part of it. At this point, it’s hard to perceive much about what God’s future is for FCCBC and Battle Creek. But when it comes to discernment, I am coming to find that there is perhaps more value in a slow walk than if we had stayed indoors and made a quick action plan. May we seek, and find, the welfare of the city in which we make our home, and we trust that the welfare of FCCBC will follow.

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