How EfM has informed my ministry

Recent Sunday readings from the Old Testament have focused on stories from Genesis. Pre-EfM, Genesis was, for me, simply the book that started off with day 1, day 2, day 3, etc… of the Creation story. I wouldn’t get much farther in reading before nodding off or wanting to find something else to do. EfM changed that. Perhaps it was spending the money and/or committing the time but reading the
Bible became something I looked forward to. The textbooks, which weren’t always riveting, and working with the other participants made the Scriptures come alive. Class discussions, prayer, and reflections energized the familiar words. They became real, meaningful, and full of life. I came to realize that they speak to us today. I found stories that were filled with humor, drama, love, and conflict. These stories that are thousands of years old and from a land far different than 21st Century Rhode Island offer insights, clarity, wisdom, and inspiration to my life today. The ancient stories help me to better understand events in my life and the world. I see God’s continuing role in guiding and directing Creation.

The EfM course weaves together study of the Old Testament, New Testament, church history, and theology in weekly sessions where the participants engage in stirring conversation, creative prayer, and deep reflection. A recent Sunday reading told the story of Jacob wrestling with God. The story ends with Jacob limping and receiving God’s blessing. I read a commentary recently that suggested that Jacob was wrestling with his faith. Thought of in that way, the story resonates for us today. For the Christian, isn’t life a constant wrestling match with faith? We struggle with our faith and we may even be bruised at times, but ultimately we receive God’s blessing. EfM has taught me to look at life in this way. We are in constant interaction with our Creator. It isn’t always easy and at times there may even be some difficulties. Being a member and a mentor in EfM has enriched my life in many ways and opened a whole new dimension of faith. Daily I see God’s hand in the world around me and I realize that God engages with each of us through prayer, the Scriptures, the Church, the people we encounter, and the world at large. EfM has helped me to see those many interactions, to understand them, and to value them.

John Lord, a former EfM participant and mentor

If you are interested in learning more about EfM, please contact The Rev. Susan Wrathall, or Jane Jellison. A group is in progress at St Mark’s in Warwick, and another group is planning a fall start at Trinity North Scituate.