On March 12, Ceil Burgess, Nancy Sides, and I attended Super Saturday in Killingly, CT. For those who don’t know, Super Saturday is a day of dynamic worship and informative workshops on important topics of relevance to churches. This year, the keynote speaker was Rev. Traci Blackmon. Rev. Blackmon serves as the first woman pastor of Christ the King United Church of Christ in Florissant, Missouri and as Acting Executive of UCC Justice and Witness Ministries. She was also appointed by President Obama to the Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
Traci preached a powerful sermon on the story of Moses “turning aside” to investigate the strange sight of a burning bush in the wilderness. It was only after he turned aside that he was able to hear God speak to him from the bush, and the rest, as they say, is history. She raised the question of what would have happened if Moses had not turned aside to approach the bush, but had kept going. How long had the bush been burning and how many others might have passed it by before Moses came along?
These are important questions for churches to consider. Congregations can become so preoccupied with institutional survival and “doing things the way we’ve always done it” that we overlook the burning bushes where God is trying to get our attention. Notice that Moses had to turn aside to encounter God in the burning bush. As disciples of Jesus we need to go out of our way too, if we want to discern God’s mission for our churches. In the case of this Super Saturday, turning aside meant a trip to Killingly. Sometimes it might just mean a redirection of our imagination.
Experiences like Super Saturday can be “burning bush” events, opening our eyes and ears to new inspirations, new directions, and new resources. It is my hope that in the future more people from our congregation will join in these opportunities to grow in our faith and in our ministries as God’s people.