Dear Friends on the Journey, Fellow Pilgrims,
I couldn’t be more excited coming into this fall. Yes, I’m excited by what is coming up for you and all of us through Coracle’s offerings (more on that below), but more deeply it’s because of the palpable sense that the very present God is with us, leading, guiding, and providing. I’m excited because of renewed confidence that the risen Lord Jesus is alive, beautiful, and worth every bit of effort to bear witness to him, to know and share his love, and to participate in the redemptions he is working and the coming of his Kingdom. The inescapable image for me recently has been that of a bonfire burning in the dark.
Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.” (John 8.21) Not only did he say that, it is true! Jesus is the light! This is really important to remember when times feel unusually dark, either personally or nationally. Regarding the latter, many of us have an unsettled sense of “Gosh, this seems like a really dark season” because of this dangerously divided American culture combined with the ongoing exposures of where the church seems often not to have lived up to the beauty of her calling or even works against it. And when it feels dark, there’s one thing to do…light a light, set a bonfire in the dark so that those who feel like it’s cold and hard to see can come to it and find light, and warmth, and others. In this image, the light is Jesus himself, and the power and beauty of his ‘good news of the Kingdom of God’. (Luke 4.43)
Last year around this time, Coracle finished a season of corporate discernment resulting in the vision for “The Next Journey” focusing on community and ministry in 4 spaces. All the major elements of that vision have seen extraordinary progress, thanks be to God. I’ve felt that the big picture of what is currently going on in this ministry and what is coming is like us placing dry logs on top of each other so that Jesus can come and light it, the flame of that fire being his very self in our midst, bearing witness to his reality and beauty and inviting others to that same light. As a new season begins, Coracle is laying down logs for a bonfire, wanting Jesus to come so that we might enjoy him, become more like him, and so that others can see him as well and come near, finding heat and light in what often feels like dark times.
What’s coming up this fall is toward that end, creating places where Jesus can show up in our offerings of prayer, justice, Bible engagement, love, spiritual formation, truth, and beauty.
- Because prayer matters:
- This Thursday September 7 we begin Space for God: Thursdays at 8.30am Pacific Time/ 11.30am ET online to make it easier for our West Coast friends to begin their day with God, and others to encounter God in the middle of the day with others. Space for God Tuesdays at 8.30am ET continues on.
- We are making progress on converting Corhaven into an actual retreat center even as we are keeping it open for limited use so that people have a place to go to and pray.
- Watch for more information about our open and in person Eucharist retreat on October 7th and Advent service in December in Arlington.
- Because justice matters:
- The Repentance Project begins its next book study Tuesday nights on “The Hidden Wound” by Wendell Berry on September 12th and we’d love for you to join in for the discussion.
- This weekend the Maryland Slavery Pilgrimage (currently full) promises to be a powerful experience. Baltimore continues to partner with BUILD for the sake of that city.
- Because Scripture matters:
- Rich Dean leads us through our next Bible study on the book of Isaiah starting on October 6th at 8:00am. Join us every first and third Friday morning!
- Also this fall we’ll be publishing his important treatment of Isaiah and what that book has to say to the church in America today.
- Because loving matters:
- We are solidly inhabiting our new ministry space in south Arlington and now looking forward to begin offering it for various sorts of ministry with and for so many types of people. I invite you to join me in person in the space and online on Wednesday, Sept. 13, talking about “Deep Truths and Where We Go With Them” at 2nd Wednesday.
- Because spiritual formation matters:
- Our current Coracle Fellows programs continue, and we’re opening up registration soon for the 2024 cohort in the DMV and online.
- In the Shenandoah Valley, Ken Wettig has already kicked off the next cohort for SLAQ (Student Leadership) for youth.
- “The Deeper Journey”, our online gathering to go deeper with Jesus and with others, continues each 3rd Wednesday and continues to be a powerful gathering for those who can make it.
- Because truth matters:
- You may remember “Essential Christianity,” our attempt to uncover the glow of the gospel of Jesus and his Kingdom and recover the beauty of the Christian vision. We’ve fully developed that resource as a fully online video course with a printed book, new reflection questions and discussion guides for individuals and groups, and suggested spiritual practices, and will launch it publicly in the next few weeks.
- Because beauty matters:
- We hope you’ll join us for a conversation on The Role of Art & Spiritual Formation with Seth Crissman, Project Director for The Soil and the Seed Project.
- We are looking forward to another “Beauty for Ballast” evening at Corhaven September 29
Our varied offerings and actions this fall are an incarnate expression of one of my favorite verses, Colossians 1.17, “In Christ, all things hold together.” The risen, living, loving, and very present Jesus is the reason, the purpose, and the power for what we’re doing. Let’s do it together, because the world is broken and Jesus is real!