January Imaginings 2015

For in him [Christ] all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross. (Col 1:19-20)

A big thank you to all who participated in our recent survey on reconciliation. Many of you said you would like to write, participate and dialogue with us. The survey revealed a broad interest in racial, environmental, economic, political, generational and personal reconciliation. This encourages us to believe that this emphasis is the right direction for us, and that you too will join us on the journey.

surveyRespondents affirmed how significant God’s work of reconciling  “all things” is to them. We received comments like:

“Our brokenness is not a source of guilt, but opportunity.”

“This is a firm promise of the coming fullness of God’s kingdom.”

“Jesus is the ultimate bond between all things and reconciliation must be among our primary missional priorities, confirm our direction.”

We look forward to contributions from those who want to write, speak and collaborate with the MSA team.

The good news of the gospel is God’s desire to reconcile all things to God’s self. This is a holistic plan that embraces not just our inner transformation and reconciliation to God, but also the restoration of creation, reconciliation os all relationships: the making of peace wherever there is enmity, healing wherever there is brokenness, and renewal wherever the image of God is distorted.

Our creator has begun a process of redemption to restore all things to what they were meant to be. The question is, how do we get there?

dink.wellAs Kerry Dearborn asks in her inspiring new book Drinking from the Wells of New Creation, “What transforms our approaches to reconciliation from being empty verbal niceties or guilt-assuaging ‘quick fixes’ to dynamic expressions of the gospel?” (p. 68) She believes that, through the Holy Spirit, God’s love has flooded our hearts, united us with God, and empowered us to participate in the reconciliation established by God through Christ’s life, death and resurrection.

She goes on to explain that it is the imagination that opens the heart’s floodgates to both receive the Spirit’s love and release it to others:

  • First, the imagination is the solvent breaking down old ways of seeing the world.
  • Second, its creative facility offers us a new vision of life and hope, reshaping our desires and expectations around God’s vision of reconciliation.
  • Third, its integrative power connects heart, mind and body to this new vision and catalyzes responses.

It is this good news, and it is the power of the imagination to reshape and transform our responses so that God’s great plan for reconciliation becomes central to all we are and do, that we want to engage in through MSA’s programs this year.

This is a big topic, and we will obviously only be able to scratch the surface

Through blog discussions and events exploring issues as varied as racial reconciliation, the future of the church, food and justice, gardening, and retreats for inner restoration and reconciliation to the image of God within us, we plan to challenge all of us both to explore God’s great plan for reconciliation and to intentionally participate in it.

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For reconciliation there must be open collaboration and hospitality that opens our hearts and our minds to the reconciling love of God. That is just what we want to do.

First: Will you sit down together with us on our blogs and help us create a new table with diversity of voices and viewpoints that encourage all of us to stir our imaginations and work towards God’s reconciliation?

Our theme on the MSA blog for the next few months will be Igniting Imagination for Reconciliation and New Creation. We want to share your thoughts and examples of God’s imaginative reconciling work in the world. On the Godspace blog we will pursue a similar theme and begin Lent early with posts on Stop Playing Games: Join in God’s Reconciling Work for Lent. Here too we hope for a diversity of voices that encourage us to call our hearts, our minds and our spirits back to God and participate more deeply in God’s reconciling work.

Please prayerfully consider how you can participate with us in this journey.

pre-Lent retreat 2015If you live in the Seattle area we hope you will also join us for our pre-Lent retreat, Stop Playing Games: Return to Our Senses for Lent, on February 14th. This year it will be hosted by Union Church at the Kakao Cafe. Or consider a study of A Journey into Wholeness: Soul Travel from Lent to Easter, which addresses reconciliation in many dimensions.

Second: Will you join us in March as we begin a conversation on racial reconciliation? We plan to bring together women and men from African American, Asian, Latino and Native American backgrounds to discuss how we can create a new table of understanding and action within MSA as we move into the future. Your prayers are appreciated as we begin this discussion.

If you do not live in the Seattle area, perhaps you would like to collaborate with us by bringing together your own group to discuss these issues. Together we can create many new tables of understanding and reconciliation.

Third: Save the date for our annual Celtic retreat on Camano Island, August 7th-9th. This is a great opportunity to meet with other MSA collaborators. Kerry Dearborn believes that Celtic Christians expanded our imaginations to perceive the wonder of God’s reconciliation of all things in Christ and our confidence that God’s healing, humble and gracious ways ultimately triumph.

We will explore this at our retreat, relating it to the life of Columba, the great reconciler. If you want to join us but don’t like the idea of camping, consider one of these other options: Camano Island Inn,Cama Beach cabins, or hotels in Marysville or Mt Vernon.

Other discussions we are beginning include:

  • Economic reconciliation and the issues of land use and housing. We plan to host a discussion on alternative housing options and hopefully a workshop on tiny houses.
  • Justice at the Table – our seminar hosted by Andy Wade last year will expand into a rich discussion of numerous issues relating to food production and consumption.

Mustard Seed HouseThere is also an opportunity to move into the Mustard Seed House and be part of the new Mustard Seed Community that is forming. Find out more.

We are also forming a new garden team, creating a more collaborative approach to the garden that is like a small CSA. If you want to get your hands in the dirt but don’t know how to start, we invite your participation.

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We have not yet scheduled a Spirituality of Gardening seminar here in Seattle but have several others planned: in Surrey, B.C. on April 11th, in Bellingham, WA on April 12th, and in Denver, CO on May 30th, with other possible locations to come. Christine and Andy are both available to lead this seminar in your area.

An exciting year is emerging for the MSA team. We appreciate your prayers, support and participation.

God bless,

Christine Sine
Executive Director, MSA