Today in the Anglican Church of Canada we commemorate the life of John XXIII.

Regular readers of this blog will remember that last week I referred to Pope John XXIII. I really like his words, “We are not on earth to guard a museum, but to cultivate a flowering garden of life.” This is a call to the church to be more than an institution frozen in remembering the accomplishments of our past. It is a call to embrace life, growth and Light. It is a call to be community.  (For more on this you can read my post for May 27)

John XXIII was not just a great agent of change for the Church but was also a deeply spiritual leader who called on followers to search out what God is calling them to do. He was a leader who saw what embraced the idea that Light can and will defeat darkness. This was a Pope who was not governed by fear of what might happen but was driven by the anticipation of what was yet to come. We would be wise to take his advice as offered here:

“Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do.”

We are entirely governed nowadays with ‘success.’ OR we are entirely governed nowadays with what we are sold as ‘success.’ Because of this we are often afraid to take risk and afraid to explore new possibilities. We would do well follow the advice of John XXIII who history has shown was successful at changing the landscape of church and was a watershed leader in the church. Focusing on failure or negativity is demoralizing and can suck the life out of any individual and any organization. God is not concerned with negativism and fear. God is to be found in the light-filled corners of rooms full of hope. In those rooms God is welcoming ALL people as guests and is serving the thirst quenching drink of unfulfilled potential. I am encouraged by these words. I see that God has placed before me grace and courage to put my past failings behind me and embrace the hope that God has laid before me. Can you be encouraged by these words as well? Is there unfulfilled potential that you need to explore? What can you do with God’s help that should be brought to light from the hallways of fear?

It seems fitting that our Church is gathering for day one of General Synod on this day when we Commemorate Pope John XXIII. Their theme is “Feeling the Winds of God – Charting a New Course.” To that end I send this blog post out to all who are gathered at our Church’s General Synod in Halifax. I pray that they heed the call of the late pontiff. This is no time to be focussed on fear, or on what we could not accomplish in the past. This is no time to fixate on what we failed to accomplish at our last Synod in 2007. I am praying that Synod is a room full of hope. I am praying that the delegates would realize their unfulfilled potential and embrace this opportunity to make possible all that God desires for us as a people.

The theme of this synod is taken from the great hymn; I Feel the Winds of God Today.
That hymn is a call to put fear aside and lift sail to the breeze. It is a call to set sail into the unknown places that God’s love will take us and the countless possibilities that accompany that unknown sojourn. The second verse of that hymn reinforces the message of John XXII quoted above.
 
It is the wind of God that dries
My vain regretful tears
Until with braver thoughts shall rise
The purer, brighter years
If cast on shores of selfish ease
Or pleasure I should be
Lord, let me feel Thy freshening breeze
And I’ll put back to sea

God’s wind will allow us to wipe away the tears of regrets and failings. We will be reminded by the wind of God’s love of the brighter years. We are reminded that we do share in an unbelievable promise. It is a wind that stirs us from our selfish comfort zones to the stand face to the wind looking ahead to waters that are unknown and in some cases are uncharted. I pray that God would let those who are at this Synod know the presence of the Holy Spirit who is blowing a freshening breeze into the church. I pray that they may harness the wind and help us set sail toward our unlimited potential.
You can follow general synod by live webstreaming and by reading blogs on the General Synod Web page. Click here.