Friday was a miracle, of sorts. Well, a “virtual” miracle.
We are studying Paul’s letter to the Philippians with the Pacto leadership in four regions through Zoom encounters and letting the Word of God speak to us as we share with one another and mentor one another through this time of quarantine and the pandemia. Philippians has proven to be especially insightful for various reasons. Maybe one principal reason is that Paul is writing from prison. Most of us here in Colombia have felt like we are under house arrest during this time of quarantine restrictions. Because of that insight through “shared circumstances” with Paul, we have been more attentive to applying the message that we are discovering together to our present and future ministry together. Friday was proof that something is happening that hadn’t happened before.
Besides the fact that most participants in our Zoom calls arrive on time to the encounter (something that in itself is a major miracle for the Pacto), most participants have been respectful and have not intervened with thoughts or with comments “out of turn and out of line”. (It’s amazing how powerful of a tool the “mute” button is and how fast one learns when they are “muted” for speaking too long or out of turn). Friday we set up an “open mike” time for the participants to give the personal impact of the first chapter of Philippians upon their current situations, lives and future visions for ministry. Each one was asked to speak no more than 10 minutes, no “preaching”, and to be as personally insightful and transparent as they were willing to be. Since this was a “first” for all of us, we were expecting to have a lot of long-winded speakers and some rambling thoughts.
But a miracle took place. In the span of 50 minutes, no less than eight different Pacto pastors shared deeply, from their hearts, to the point, and then ended their time. No one rambled on. No one went too long. We heard eight different insightful and impactful and God-inspired “sermons” in 50 short minutes – all from Philippians chapter 1 and all applying the word to some personal growth that they were experiencing. A miracle took place as: one pastor gave a three-point sermon in eight minutes; another pastor had a four point sermon from one verse and even had time for discussion; a third pastor, who three days earlier had done the typical “short devotional” to begin a “business” meeting and proceeded to ramble on for more than an hour before the three minutes of business were taken care of. But this time he finished in six minutes! And the ones who didn’t share were very attentive and taking notes and were very blessed to be listeners. No one “preached at” us, everyone shared a Word from chapter 1, from their heart and from their life.
We believe, along with Paul, that God has begun a good work among us during these moments of learning together in the midst of our context, our suffering, and, yet, positive and life giving transformation is happening (Philippians 1.6).