Dear Christ the Redeemer family,

I have mentioned that one of the things I got to do this summer was to attend our Province’s Triennial Assembly. It was wonderful: I had the opportunity to reconnect with long-time friends from places all around the country, and we all rejoiced together as we celebrated our 10th anniversary.
It was the kind of moment to which I wished I could have brought all of us together along with me- so refreshing, so good. I felt that the three plenary talks on the main day were a gift to us, specifically, at CTR. They reinforce and inform the directions we have been heading, and are clear and powerful. So, having mentioned these a few weeks ago and promised more, I wanted to take the opportunity to introduce them to you one by one here, in Crossings.
The first plenary was led by James Bryan Smith, the Director of the Spiritual Formation Institute at Friends University and author of The Good and Beautiful God (among other books). He spoke about the most basic (but in some ways also the most challenging) thing: that the church exists for making disciples (apprentices) of Jesus Christ. He led us in thinking about the stories we tell ourselves about who we are, and about who the New Testament says we are (people in Christ – in whom Christ dwells).

From there he helped us think about how to let our identity in Christ– this most true of all stories – be the story that is front and center (i.e., via the power of spiritual disciplines/practices) and not easily let it get shoved into the background. Finally he challenged us with the crucial need to learn how to live out our identity & story in Christ in smaller and deeper communities, where we can share our growth edges, own up humbly to our failures, and celebrate our successes, and how  in our time, there is an increasingly greater need for intentionality in nourishing these authentic communities.
You can watch (or choose just to listen) here. Try the first 11½  minutes and see, but the whole of it is well worth the time. Watch it and chat it up with each other! Talk with us about the groups we have and what they are all about.
May Jesus be especially present to you,

PS: Along these lines, our walk through Paul’s letter to the Galatians this autumn will, by God’s grace, help us to reset our own stories in Christ and his Cross, and clarify our identity as his. I so enjoyed our first Sunday in this last week, and am very much looking forward to the autumn. Join me in praying that the Spirit of Jesus would be free and at work in all of this pilgrimage.