Jared here, checking in from The Table's office down at Church of Our Lord. It's June 1st, which in my mind is crazy! This year is flying by - Wouldn't you agree? The month of May seemed to go especially quick, so I'll do my best to recap it.
-Vineyard work has officially begun, and so far it's been really great! We've successfully planted about 3000 new vine cuttings into the ground of the Saanich Peninsula. (although not without a lot of patient endurance - mostly on Mike's part.) Yes, the vines are in the ground, but there is still some work to be done to ensure that our little friends grow and thrive. We still need to place a milk carton around each vine to protect against pests, and we need to put some mulch on top of all the rows. Sigh...things are going slower than they were planned, but I guess thats just the way it goes. On top of that we've inherited another vineyard on the Peninsula....Kind of. We're actually just managing half of it. Yes it's more work, but it's actually a total gift for various reasons. I won't get into that now.
Even though I'm only doing this part time I feel like it's a big part of my life now. I notice myself thinking about the little vines all the time, worrying about the weather - that kind of stuff.
This past month has been a pretty emotionally exhausting one, and I think I'm mostly to blame. for a few weeks leading up to May I was praying a lot to God about grace. I'd been asking him to help me understand it better, and take it from an abstract concept to something that I can actually sink my teeth into. Grace is something that I struggle with, and since it's integral to the Christian faith, I figured I better start thinking about it more. Well... I think he delivered, or at least go the ball rolling. Sometimes you've gotta watch what you ask God for...
Anyways, this month I had 4 things happen that were full of conflict and conflict resolution. Some of the things were my fault, some of the things were the other parties fault. I got a crash course on grace. Not only on giving grace, but also on receiving it as well. I don't know which one is harder... But in any case It was a good start and God gave me a lot to think about. I still want to grow in this area and I think God still wants me to grow in this area too. I'm expecting more things to have to struggle through in the not to distant future.
Tied into that last rant, I've been meeting with a lot more people. I'm trying to be a bit more "pastoral." Maybe that's the wrong word..hmmm...I don't know, more of a mentor? I feel that I'm turning out to be a pretty solid Christian, and there's a lot of people who need guidance... Some of these people are in the church, some have no church experience, and some are burnt out christians who are fed up with their experience of christianity so far. All of these people are in my network though. Since I'm pretty sold on this whole Christianity thing, I've been trying to meet with more people to listen to their stories and struggles. I'm really enjoying it, although at times it can get a bit tense. I think I'm learning the value of playing the "long game" with people. Often it feels like you have to say all the right things or have a really convincing argument. I think those moments are valuable, but it's also easy to forget that you most likely will have a bigger impact on a person if they know that you love and value them. And that means spending time with people...A lot of time. But I'm pretty sure that's the mission of the Church, or at least my church... we long to see Christ revealed in common life.
There's one other thing that has been adding to the mental fatigue this month, and that's the anniversary of my brother's death. It's hard to believe it's already been a year. This time last year I had just gotten back from Utah for my mental break. Kinda seems like I need another one....I'm overstating how I'm actually feeling, I'm really not doing that bad, I'm just a bit tired.
Even though it's been a little bit draining it, takes a lot for me to get really upset about his death because I witnessed the life that came out of it. I'm apart of that life. I've been so enlivened by the hope that came from it and because against all odds Jordan decided to glorify God through his lot. It reminds me of John's Gospel when the resurrected Jesus is chatting with Peter in the last chapter:
"When you were young, you used to to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go." (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, "Follow me."
For some reason I find great comfort in this. I get a sense of God's intimacy in this. Maybe I just picture Jesus saying these words to Jordan before he died. Maybe I just picture Jesus saying these same words to all of us. Part of following Jesus means following Jesus into death, and that's what Jordan did. Anyways interesting interaction between Jesus and Peter eh?
God doesn't heal every sick person is this world, he just doesn't. And look, we're all going to die one day, but Jordan was in Christ, so I know he will receive the only complete and permanent healing that God offers - The resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. The only complete and true healing comes through death. Jordan is just one step ahead of us all who are in Christ. That's how I like to think of it anyways. All is not lost.
-Still looking for a place to live, although I have a few leads!
-Pray for the people I described vaguely in this email, and pray for my time with them.