Encouragement & Energy

Faith-Remixed-framedFriday, September 26, 2014

If then there is any encouragement in Christ…

Philippians 2:1-13

Congregational life draws us into relationships. It is not uncommon for our stories of faith to be linked to the stories of congregations. When we listen to each other’s stories we find the common themes of what sustains our involvements: worship, service, life-long learning, caring conversations and encouragement.

It all adds up to significance by the grace given to us.

Paul was full of hope for the congregation at Philippi. While away from them he still found encouragement and inspiration for his faith by their ministry. He felt their witness and their partnership. In spite of difficulties there was a source of joy in all that they shared together. An ancient hymn that proclaimed the person and work of Christ expressed the foundation for his hope when he wrote: Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.

From the presence and promise of Jesus came the experience of belonging, unity, compassion and humility.

The fall season in the church and its many activities give us fresh perspective and new found energy to participate more fully in the very movement of the Spirit among us. Our new Sunday schedule has brought us together in new ways and we are excited about the plans underway for creative learning and worship experiences for all ages.

This reading ends with the reminder that it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and work for his good pleasure. The translation very well may read it is God who gives you energy… A most helpful reminder as we move forward as a congregation that all our good efforts are sustained by the deep well of God’s activity in and through us.      

Pastor Randy

 

For Where Two or Three are Gathered...

79Friday, September 5, 2014

Matthew 18:15-20

I love the energy that the fall programs bring to the church. After summer routines are over we naturally look to renew and deepen our connections to the programs of the congregation. Alpha Sunday gives us opportunity to seek out involvements that enrich our lives of faith and service. Underneath all our activities is the enduring gift of community and belonging. We celebrate this and look to invite all ages into the vibrancy of our ministry.

As we listen in on Jesus’ instruction to the disciples in Sunday’s gospel reading, we learn about another dimension of discipleship. We notice that Jesus’ teaching about forgiveness is a clear indication of what a profound gift community is to us. Given the pace and demands of life, it is a gift that often gets overlooked. The call to care for one another to the extent of forgiveness speaks to the way we experience the depth and wonder of authentic belonging.

Our connections with one another at Faith can model relationships that are healthy, respectful and compassionate – in this way we give witness to the presence of Christ who dwells among us and within us. There is a refreshing simplicity to our connections. It flows from a meal of bread and wine joined with the promise of Jesus. It flows from a Word that speaks to our hearts and makes all things new. From the center of our gatherings is a grace that creates, sustains and enlivens all our friendships.

I look forward to this new season at Faith. Let us enter into it fully embracing the gift of being the church together.

Pastor Randy