Sherah-Leigh Gerber is a member of the pre-convention blogging team. Sherah-Leigh (Zehr) Gerber, works for Ohio Conference half-time as Coordinator of Volunteers, planning resourcing events and relating to the ministry teams of the Conference. A graduate of Eastern Mennonite University and Seminary, she has served in a variety of congregational and Conference ministry positions. In addition to spending time with her family, Sherah-Leigh enjoys reading, baking and blogging about her kitchen adventures (www.shergerber.blogspot.com). She and her husband, BJ, live in Wayne County, Ohio with their daughter Anna. They attend Kidron Mennonite Church.
“The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it,
the world, and those who live in it;
for He has founded it on the seas,
and established it on the rivers.”
Six weeks ago, I shared some of my reflections from the text from the Psalm that has been selected as a theme for Convention. And here I sit, again inspired by these two verses. The only explanation is that I have been deeply impacted by the discipline of Dwelling in the Word.
Recently, the Constituency Leaders Council gathered at Camp Hebron. I am so grateful for the opportunity to meet with this gathering of “elders” from across our denomination. We typically meet twice in a year, and while we are together, we fill every available minute. One of the practices we share in is to spend time dwelling in the Word as table groups. This spring, we used this passage from Psalm 24.
It’s fascinating to me how alive the text can be in so many ways based on the situations on our hearts and minds as we approach it. I was also drawn to new understandings as different voices led us in a variety of versions and emphasis within the short passage.
A few notes from my journal:
- In our table discussion, one person shared that he was drawn to the realization that as much as we like to think we are in control, we, too, are subject to the rhythms of creation, the patterns and changes that God has established. We cannot ultimately escape an earthly end. We cannot will spring to come. Yes, we can impact things (for better or worse), but the reproductive cycles of nature and the shifting of the earth’s tectonic plates are part of the wonder and majesty God founded.
- In my seminary studies of the Pentateuch we talked about how in the ancient world, water represented chaos. It was unknown, uncontrollable. What does it mean then that God founded the world upon the waters? God established the earth over chaos; do I trust God with the chaos in my life? Do I believe that something good can be established upon the mess of humanness that I am? It reminds me that God is God. Only God can create and sustain out of and upon chaos.
- One morning, we were invited to hear the text three times, taking time to journal a focused response.
- Point of Remembrance—how does this passage connect with my own journey?
- People or Relationships—who comes to mind in the hearing of this text?
- Purpose or Response—what will I do today in response to God’s word for me?
- For those who find sitting quietly a challenge, one leader offered this guide in our hearing of the Word. Each time we were to read through the passage, taking a different posture and emphasis.
- The first time we heard the text and then the word “receive.” What does it mean to receive the earth that belongs to the Lord?
- Next, we heard the text with the words “give thanks.” I am overwhelmed with gratitude that the earth indeed is the Lord’s, not mine to worry about or control, but nestled in the palm of our loving Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer.
- Finally, we heard the text with the word “bless.” How will I bless all that the Lord has created today?
May we all be challenged and encouraged by the discipline of Dwelling together in the Word, whether in our individual devotional time, in our congregational preparation for attending Convention or in our time together around delegate tables in Phoenix.