Tuesday, December 01, 2020

Reflections from the Interim District Executive

Though we may not be able to see the whole path, God gives the gift of beauty and goodness along the way. Photo taken at Dyck Arboretum in Hesston, KS.

I posted this photo and the words above on Facebook in August when I was discerning whether to accept the invitation to become your Interim District Executive. As I walked the grounds of the arboretum, I had prayed that God would open me to notice something to aid me as I considered the future possibilities. As I came upon this particular curve in the path, I thought, There it is! This is what God wants me to notice. I had walked this path a number of times before, yet I hadn’t taken a photo from this angle. I knew where the path at the Arboretum would take me. But in following a path at God’s invitation, we hardly ever know what is very far ahead of us in the future. We have to trust that the Holy One who gives the invitation will also provide what we need along the way. And we move forward in trust. So I said “yes” to the invitation to be on the path with you as you seek a person to become your next District Executive.

I’ve been blessed by willingness of Kevin Kessler and Andrea Garnett to assist me and welcome me into the Interim role. Kevin has provided access to many files and much information that will give me a good start, and Andrea’s capabilities and helpfulness will be an ongoing gift in my ministry with you. I respect and appreciate them both!

It’s almost time for me to begin. January 1, 2021, is the official start date, and now I am pondering how we proceed in the next steps on the path together. And once again an image has given me reason to pause. Several months ago I was introduced to the artwork of Janet McKenzie (see her website at www.janetmckenzie.com). She creates these wonderful paintings of biblical persons, depicting them as people of color. I was so struck by their power that I purchased one of Mary Magdalene, the one pictured here. She is portrayed with open hands, offering something to the viewer. I learned that, as in some Eastern Christianity artwork/icons, she is holding a red egg. There’s a legend behind that which I won’t go into, but basically the egg is a symbol of new birth, new life (you can Google it and find out more). What strikes me about the image is that I am being offered something; I am being invited to receive something. There is a holy invitation from Mary Magdalene who models openness, vulnerability, and strength. She is ready to give, to share, and I have to decide if I’m open to receiving.

So, of course, I ask you: What is the holy invitation for you, for us, as we begin walking a path together in 2021? Will we approach this new time together with openness, vulnerability, and strength? Will we allow God to gift us with new life? Let us covenant with one another to pray to be open to God’s invitation to us in the coming months.

Connie Burkholder