Someone has said that character is what creates the unique fingerprint of our soul. A well-developed character is identified by the ruts and contours that are traced onto its surface. Ever wonder why a conscience-free con-artist is called a “slick character”? It is because s/he has no guiding virtues etched onto their spirit. Instead of smoothing out the contours of our characters – at the risk of being desensitized to life – we are called to commit ourselves to deepening the grooves.
This month, we will seek to deepen the grooves of our character through an emphasis on stewardship – as disciples managing God’s ministry. On November 18 during our Unity Worship Sunday, we gather as a congregation to highlight our ministry, worship as a unified congregation, and enjoy fellowship over lunch. I hope you will be a part. Also, this month, I want to encourage you to fill out an online Spirituality Inventory found at https://z.umn.edu/SLI-Horeb-Chapin. We will use the feedback to help us gauge and grow our ministry.
Over the years, we have worked hard to develop a structure for our ministry together. Our Core Ministry reflects a model of abiding in God (Worship, Learn) and being fruitful (Witness, Serve). It also embraces how we take care of Mt. Horeb (Support). These Core are responses to God for our life in the world. They are also personal spiritual disciplines that encourage us to trust God more deeply. How we respond is a both a duty and a joy. God always provides. Our response is a reflection of the character we share as a community of faith.
In his letter to the church at Rome, Paul links character to suffering, endurance and hope. Suffering, that is, suffering for Christ’s sake, produces endurance — or perseverance. It is out of perseverance that character is derived. His message to the Roman church claims that it is through endurance, character and hope that we synergize God’s love in us. It is God’s love “poured into our hearts” (Romans 5:5) that is both the starting gate and the finishing line of a life of faith. And it is the desire to make that love available to all the world that keeps deepening the grooves of faith so that we end up with strong fingerprints – of the soul. In other words, as we live out our Core ministry, we deepen our faith.
A Native American saying goes: “When you were born, you cried, and the whole world rejoiced. Live such a life that when you die, the whole world cries, and you rejoice.”
In November – we commemorate All Saints Day, we will gather for our Annual Congregational Meeting to look at our ministry together, and we will celebrate Christ the King Sunday. In one we remember the souls of those who have lived the faith and have gone before us. In another we will consider our own fingerprint of the soul as we walk and work together in ministry. Finally, in the other, we will remember that we are soul-people with Christ as our King who leads us to live faith out-loud, doing Kingdom work. All are part of our character as a Body of Christ, helping to form the fingerprint of our soul.
Thanks for your soul-full participation as we strive to deepen our faith. The Peace of the Lord be with each of you+