Psalm 31.23a (RSV)
Love the LORD, all you his saints!
"In the Bible to be called a ‘Saint’ refers not to a special Christian; rather it identifies those who refer to Jesus as special; that is, those who call Jesus the Christ, are called Saints.”* This Sunday as part of our worship, we will be remembering, honoring, and celebrating those that have died in the Lord since last year’s All Saint’s. We will also have an opportunity to remember anyone who is alive or dead that has helped shape our faith.
I have often said that there are people in my life I someday hope to grow up to be like and Roy is one. Roy is a semi-retired pastor who was a member of a church I served. He was gracious, warm, and would in no uncertain terms put up with anyone’s gruff. In his soft spoken ways, he would lead and challenge people’s perceptions and opinions, always showing the love of God to them. He was masterful at drawing out the best in you. In particular, he helped me discern what I was to do next in ministry. I am thankful to God for sending Roy my way at just the right time in my life. He truly is a saint who God calls special.
So how about you…who has been a saint to you? Who helped define your faith?
How can you be a saint to another?
Grace and peace,
*Quote is from “Rev. Richard J. Hull II, “Celebrating All Saints: Resources for Congregational Ministry and Worship,” Christian Church Foundation
Proverbs 12.18 (CEB)
Some chatter on like a stabbing sword, but a wise tongue heals.
We have voice and a choice in how we use it. Though we want to believe that “sticks and stones” are the only things that hurt us in life, the reality is that words have power. Whether spoken, written, or withheld, words have influence in perceptions and outcomes. They can either build up or tear down one another.
The story goes that there was a young couple soon to be married. As they were preparing to be wed, the minister asked them what it means to use words to build one another up. Each thought for a moment and the bride said “words can be used to help one see the honest truth about ourselves, not so much to judge, but to put a mirror up to one another so that they can be their best selves.” The groom thought for a moment and replied, “words are to be ways for us to communicate the truest parts of ourselves so that another can know us.” “Yes,” the minister replied, “and the challenge will be to always see each other with eyes that want the best in each other, to be honest without being cruel about who you are and what you are becoming together.”
We all have significant relationships where words are either freely given or a stony silence has crept in, creating walls. We are given a voice and a choice in how we share ourselves with one another. The couple is off to a good start. The challenge is for all of us to build each other up with love and respect.
Sunday, we’ll carry on with this theme of building each other up for the kingdom’s sake. See you then…
Grace and peace,
Jeremiah 29.11 (RSV)
For I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
I shared this riddle with the elders this year’s retreat and it is this:
Q. What animal walks on all fours in the morning, two legs in the afternoon, and three in the evening?
A. People as they move through life stages understood as times of the day. A baby crawls in the first part of in the morning, we walk with two legs in the “prime” of life in the afternoon, and in the evening we need a little help with a cane.
Thinking about the future during these times each will have its own perspective. The child will think, “what will I be when I grow up?” In the middle of life, now that I am somebody, “how will I continue to live with integrity, honesty, and passion?” In the evening of life,” what will I be as the things that defined me once shift to something different?”
God has a certain fondness for the future. We know that to be true in our own lives because what happens in the past becomes the stuff that supports the future. The future itself is not so much determined, but rather has echoes of the past as the future unfolds. Hope is born out of the crucible of living a life of faith. It is this hope we have found in Jesus Christ’s salvation of us all leading us to view the future not so much with a tight grip, but loosely moving us to live our lives in service of God.
And Sunday, we will be invited to imagine what service means for us no matter if it is morning, noon, or night…
Grace and peace,
Hebrews 11: 1 (NRSV)
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
With the strengthening Holy Spirit, we hope in the life that Jesus has for us to live. We have a confidence that when we “mess up” God is ready to forgive. We trust that salvation comes in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. We have a confidence that this salvation is for everyone. We believe that God is love and this love is meant to be shared in our actions, convictions, and words. We believe that God has called us together to be the body of Christ as La Porte Community Church here and now.
Since God has brought us together, we are entrusted to live our faith in honest and dynamic ways. We share our time to teach Sunday School classes, answer the phone, prepare bulletins, and learn music. We share our talents to lead worship and committees, decorate for special occasions, sing and play instruments, and lead ministry projects. We share our treasures together so that ministries like mission, worship, and involvement in the community can happen. We do this because our faith gives us a type of belief that together we are way more than we are alone.
As active participants in God’s kingdom, come this Sunday to be part of Commitment Sunday. Make a fresh and bold statement that LPCC is up to some great things and it is together we will make a huge impact for God’s kingdom now!
Grace and peace,
Husband, father, minister, child of God, follower of Jesus Christ writing in the context of La Porte Community Church