This six-part series and additional resources are provided through the work of Iowa Conference Parish Development.
Well, here we are, number six of six. Did you notice it took more than six weeks to get through that? It would seem that life happens in the midst of our conversations, resources, ministries, and deadlines. Who would have thought? In our sometimes urgency to reconnect to the relationships that have waned, we neglect the ebb and flow of life. This is a gentle reminder that in order for our relationships with God, ourselves, and others to be enriched and healthy, we must realize that life happens in our midst every day. We must not only realize it but embrace its existence in our midst.
In her writings, the late Rachel Held Evans sought to deepen faith, life, and in turn, relationship. In the book she was working on at the time of her death, she explores Wholehearted Faith in coordination with Jeff Chu. In the epilogue is the word “telos.”
“One of the biblical words for “end” is telos
. This Greek word doesn’t have the air of finality that the English word “end” has. In other words, it’s not a dead end. On the contrary, it’s full of life because it has a sense of completion and contentment. It carries the satisfaction of doing what you know you’re called to do and the fulfillment of being who you were always meant to be…the telos of a human – your telos, my telos, our telos – is to love lavishly and indiscriminately, as our God has loved us. Love is what we were made to do. But even more than that, love is who we were made to be.” (pp 177-178)
When we break down a relationship, when we get to the nitty-gritty, we have love. Not the warm fuzzy love, or even the breath-taking love, but a yearning, enduring love. A reflection of God’s love for us to the world.
In our rush to find “normal,” what if we instead sought a relationship? What if, instead of checklists or the next best thing, we sought love? What if, instead of a new “normal,” we found a new us, grounded in love of God, self, and others? What if God is calling us to people instead of places? What if we sought that together, rooted in prayer, love, and relationship?
So while this is the end of a series of writings, it is not the end of a bewildering season of our lives. This time of unknowing, chaos, and disruption has not been the end, a dead-end, not if we choose for it not to be! Instead, these recent times have called us to telos, to life – to the fulfillment of being who we were always meant to be. May it be so.
As we have shared what we hope are some helpful tools or resources, know that we are very aware that we are all at different places at different times in whatever process we are moving through. This includes times of healing, moving forward, or sitting just a bit longer in the sacred space you are currently experiencing. Know Parish Development is here to assist you and your faith community as you move through phases of reconnection, however, or whenever that may occur.
This is the last installment of On the Way Back Together. We welcome the sharing of your reflections and experiences concerning relationships of every kind in this unique time in our lives. Also welcomed would be your suggestions concerning how Iowa Conference Parish Development, or other resources, might be able to help you through this time of Reconnecting Our Relationships. Please add the link for reflections! Thanks!
Read previous On the Way Back Together messages here.