commenting on the little apocalypse in matthew 24 and luke 21, n.t. wright argues that a first century Jew would know that the apocalyptic imagery in the texts related more to their immediate context than to the explosive left-behind inspired "end times," because the Jews "knew a good metaphor when they saw one." much like a first century Jew, i think a wise pastor knows a good metaphor when he sees one as well.
that’s a long way to introduce fragment of pastor david hansen’s work which really spoke to me today. i was going to scribble it in my journal instead of posting it here, but i suspect a few of you might be encouraged by it as well.
"To my surprise, the trail takes me into a hundred yards of tall, long-needled pines. The trunks measure about 12 inches in diameter. The branches are dead and broken off 20 feet up, about a third of the tree's total height. They do not look intentionally planted, neither do they look native to this eco-niche. The trees crack and creak loudly as they bend in the strong wind.
Imagine a large man in a hundred-year-old maple rocker on a hundred-year-old oak floor, and multiply the sound by a hundred trees. In 45 years of walking in the coniferous forests of the West, I've never heard anything like it. These trees are not thriving. The wood must be compromised with long fractures. Yet, they are amazingly resilient against the wind. The cracks in the trunks have undoubtedly been caused by the wind, but, ironically, they also allow the trees to survive the wind.
Thus, ministry for me.
The ministry makes the cracks, the cracks make me resilient, but the cracks make the ministry: "But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body" (2 Cor. 4:7-10). That which makes me whine and groan allows Jesus Christ to shine through my life."
you can read the rest of the article here. also, if you are interested in a fresh, whimsical and wonderfully written reconsideration of pastoral ministry, pick up hansen’s the art of pastoring: ministry without all the answers, in which he envisions the pastor’s life (and every Christian's life for that matter) as "a parable of Jesus." i’ve read the book twice and still find it riveting.
okay, back to school, back to school...