e-letter 03/01/19

Dear Church Family,

 

It has been a week. By now you have surely seen the news about the outcome of the 2019 special session of General Conference. Pastor Allee wrote about the decision in a special eletter that you should have received on Wednesday of this week. I won’t repeat that information here but if you missed it, you can access it by clicking here.

 

In the wake of this news, which makes it clear how divided our General Church is, we need to be reminded of the things that unite us. We need more than ever to gather in worship to be reminded of God’s love for us and our love for God. We need to worship and praise God from whom all blessings flow. We need to give thanks for the grace of Jesus Christ which is ever present and ever flowing for our hope and healing. We need to remember that God is bigger and more than able to bring light into our darkness. And we need to remember the mission of Christ that is ours to continue, a mission that calls us to love God, love each other and love our neighbors in extraordinary ways and a mission that invites us to do no harm, to do good and to stay in love with God.

 

So, this week in worship, we will gather as God’s people as we do week after week. We will continue in our message series, “Three Simple Rules” focusing on the 3rd rule, “Stay in love with God.” We will be using Jesus’ words in Matthew 22:34-40 where Jesus was clear about the greatest commandments, to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” and “you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” It seems so simple, and yet we know well that there is nothing simple about living out these commands and embodying these rules in our thoughts, our words, our actions. We saw in all the pain and hurt and division this week how very difficult it can be for us to do this.

 

But as I shared this morning with the women in Oasis, in the words of Paul from II Corinthians 4, “Since it is by God’s mercy that we are engaged in this ministry, we do not lose heart…for we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord…we have this treasure in clay jars so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us…So we do not lose heart…” It is only in the power of Christ working in us that we can begin to be faithful in loving God and loving one another. And this global church is indeed a fragile earthen vessel, susceptible to cracks and even breakage. But it is the love of God, the life of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit that makes it work and puts it back together when it is broken.

 

As we gather this week in worship, we will lean into the power and promise of God to heal us, make us one and enable us to continue the good work that God is doing through us in this community and beyond. We will also gather around the table of grace where we celebrate the miracle of the “open table” where all are welcome to receive God’s love and grace in Jesus Christ and where we are nourished and strengthened to become the body of Christ, the living tangible expression of Christ in the world. We need worship this week. We need the table. And we need one another as we seek to do no harm, to do good and together, to stay in love with God.

 

See you in worship!

 

Grace and Peace,

Annette