Sunday, May 22, 2011

Who's on your bus?


Image from Cool Clips

For the last year I've been in the process of continuing studies in the area of Youth Ministry and Theology with Princeton Theological Seminary in New Jersey. In the last year, I've traveled to NJ three times and each time I come home with new ideas, knowledge and my heart filled to the brim with encouragement. There is a challenge in keeping to the practice of study is in the pace and challenge of everyday life, but for now PTS's: Certificate in Youth Ministry and Theology is just the right fit.

Allowing time and space for growth and learning is very important to me. As a non-traditional adult student throughout my associate and bachelors studies, I developed a love of having a period of time to absorb, muddle through and come to an internalization of new concepts.That kind of time and space helps things to settle and the learning to move past being information in your head to something that truly becomes a part of your entire being. For me, learning is like coming up for a deep breath of air and feeling the positive effects of the oxygen throughout your entire being!

One of the best questions I heard being asked during my last session at PTS, was:"Who's on your bus?" Rebecca Hart, a Pastor, retreat leader and presenter at the Forum asked her group of assembled students,"Who is on your bus?" She took out a piece of scrap paper and said, "Write down the people in your life that are Godly, supportive, and caring. Don't just write down "Jesus" or "God". While we all understand that God is always present with us; it's important to recognize who -in the flesh - is present in your everyday life."

I thought about all the people that are supportive in my life. There are the ones that I see every day: family and friends and there are people that I've discovered or chosen as sources of encouragement and learning: an author, musicians, peers, and so on.

While it was encouraging to see all these bus members, Rebecca challenged us to think if there was anyone missing from our groups. She said for us to thoughtfully consider who we might need in our lives, or who we might even want to ask to be on our buses as we prepared to head home.

Everyone that participated in this class was reminded of where they are being supported in their lives as well as where they might need to seek out some new bus members. We also had a chance to consider that each one of us my need to be on someone else's bus and that our life could be a source of encouragement to someone or many others!

In the book of Hebrews chapter 11, the authors (whom some feel was Paul, but scholars are not able to provide a definitive answer.) list the historical lineage of Christians. Following this long explanation is verse Hebrews 12:12 (The Message)

Discipline in a Long-Distance Race

1-3Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we'd better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!

When we consider the "faith pioneers" that led the way in living out Christian faith we are reminded of the many people that are on all our buses! We are not alone in our journey of faith.

So, now it's my turn to ask you, "Who is on your bus?" Do you know who you can call on in your time of need, joy, sadness, fear, peace, frustration, rest, anxiety, discernment, leadership, hope, grief, or abundance?

Once you name who those people are, I encourage you to let them know what they mean to you. Even though they are on your bus, take the time to thank them for being there and ask if they would continue to do so.

If you need some more bus members, look to the people that surround your every day and ask those that exemplify characteristics you admire or desire to emulate; if they would be on your bus.

Before you know it, your bus will be very full with people that you know and that know you and who are willing to support, pray and share a Christian faith life together. Even sooner you may here someone asking you. "Would you be on MY bus?"

As Disciples of Christ we are a part of the great cloud of witnesses that are called to be available, affirming and authentically present on each other’s buses. Whose bus are you on? Who do you need on your bus?

May God bless you and your bus full of people for whatever journeys you take!

Grace and Peace,
Tara

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