Thursday, April 17, 2008

Speaking of Mergers . . .

“This is what the Kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how” (Mark 4:26-27).

Finally, after months of speculation, negotiation, legal wrangling and cryptic comments to the media, Delta and Northwest Airlines have announced a merger. This announcement has been long in the making. Some saw it coming. Some are celebrating. Some are not. The two most common reactions to the news appear to be questions (what will this mean) and anxieties (expect air fares to go up).

The prevalence of merger mania on the airwaves is shaping the way I’m thinking about “my95” this morning. Jesus gave us a parable or word picture that describes the life of faith as a merger.

This is important for us because our thinking about God’s work and our work typically looks like an attachment of one to the other, not a merger. Most often, faith gets attached to work as something that sustains us or helps us as we enter the fray of the weekday world, conducting business and trying to love our families and be decent citizens.

We’re doing the work, making things happen, with God faithfully in the wings to help us when things get s little too intense or when we need some help. That’s not untrue, it’s just inadequate.

Jesus saw it differently. We go out to sow – and that sowing is expressed in many different ways. The field may be office or home, but the nature of sowing is that it demands that we exert great effort.

And yet, our sowing depends on something beyond us. Our efforts, our work, are carried out within the mysterious context of God’s work. This means that while we move through the daily rhythm of sleeping and rising, something imperceptible and of great magnitude is happening. In the darkness of the earth the seed we sow and the effort we expend is giving rise to God’s reign in the world – what Jesus called the Kingdom.

God is working in your work, and as you work you participate in God’s own work. This is the ultimate merger. It’s big news. And just like the Delta-Northwest announcement this merger elicits the same reactions.

We have questions. We honestly don’t see how this works; how our daily activity counts as sowing seeds for God’s kingdom. We can’t imagine that God is actually at work in our work. And we have some fears. People who enter the workplace to intentionally sow seed for the kingdom are held in disdain, or so we think.

The details of the Delta – Northwest merger weren’t worked out overnight. Perhaps we expect too much if we think that this merger of our work and God’s is something accomplished with a sermon series a few morning devotionals. That’s why we’re asking you to attend a “my95” gathering in Kellett Chapel (if you're a member of PPC).

These gatherings are intended to be a focused period of time that allows you to iron out the specifics of the most important merger happening in the world today. You are a participant in what God is doing. God is fully present and active in what you are doing. Does that raise some questions? Good! Come to Kellett Chapel and let’s talk merger.

Lord Jesus, help me to see this day as you see it. You are at work in all things, quietly and faithfully carrying out your mission of bringing this world back to yourself. I want to be a part of that work. Give me strength to sow seeds that will be fruitful in your mission. Amen.

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