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Have you ever had a relationship or encounter with someone who changed how you viewed life and the world? Or who caused you to consider a new direction for your life? Or helped you to understand more about yourself?
This Lent in worship we will be exploring those, who through their encounter with Jesus had their lives transformed. We will sit with Nicodemus and Jesus in the dark of night, we will go in the midday sun with a Samaritan woman to meet Jesus; we will hear from a man who was born blind, but is given sight by Jesus, and we will weep at the grave of Lazarus with his sisters, Mary and Martha.
This Lent, I encourage you to reflect for yourself how your relationship with Christ has and continues to transform your life. How do his teachings influence your daily living? What impact does his gift of love and salvation have on your life? Each of these biblical figures has a story that can help us become more aware of how Jesus can transform us into the people God intends for us to be. For our life of faith is a journey of discovery, of being formed and reformed, of repenting and starting again as forgiven people.
Join us on this journey of discovery and transformation!
Serving Christ with you,
Well, three years later, and not only is it still living, but it is blooming. In that time, I learned how to care for it, how often to water, etc. I had anxious moments, like when a blooming stalk finally faded and died off. When the last one did, I worried that it was over. But then a few months ago, a new stalk started to emerge and at the new year, it began to bloom again – with more blossoms than ever!It will be three years next month that someone gave me an orchid for my birthday. I have never been more fearful of a gift in my life. Such responsibility! And while I like growing things, I thought of orchids as delicate and temperamental plants. I was sure I would kill it within six months. I was tempted to give it away to someone who already grew orchids and knew how to handle their natures. But I couldn’t. It was, after all a gift. So, taking a deep breath and a prayer, I took it home.
I am glad I took the risk to brave keeping this plant. Its blooms have brought me great joy and it has taught me about patient waiting, about allowing things to move at their own pace. And it reminded me that helping something to grow takes a willingness to risk, courage in new things, and patience on the journey. The same is true for people. We cannot bloom for them, we can only travel alongside them nurturing them, but also know to step back and give them space and time, so that God can create the growth within. For it was God, not me, that brought forth the orchid blossoms.
Praying for growth and courage for all of you.
Serving Christ with you,
There is something renewing about a new calendar – the pages clean, the little squares for each date empty, waiting for the possibilities of a new year. As we begin a new year as a congregation our year holds possibilities and challenges as well. Possibilities for reaching out to our community in new ways, of ministry partnerships and opportunities for spiritual growth. Challenges for a 30+ year old building that is needing attention, a building that has been a blessing to us and our community. The past year has been abundant with new experiences from a choir concert with other churches to a ministry to those seeking asylum and refuge from the violence and death in their homelands to an expanding outreach to the students at Independence High School. We have much for which to be grateful, much that makes us hopeful in the new year.
Please join me in this new year in praying for our congregation and its mission and ministry, that we may continue to be faithful to God’s call that we might be a blessing for others.
Serving Christ with you,
Recently, our General Assembly Stated Clerk, the Rev. J. Herbert Nelson, called the church to prayer for justice, peace, and security for the people of Cameroon. As many of you know, this call to prayer hits home for us because of a family in our own church. Many in their family have had to flee homes and are living in the bush in order to be safe. (I am not mentioning specific names for security reasons – that is how dangerous this is.)
Well before this made the news in the PC(USA) our congregation was aware and we have made donations to support the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon. who have been helping to feed those who have sought refuge in the bush. Our gifts to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (think of One Great Hour of Sharing) have helped to provide basic necessities to Cameroonians who have sought refuge in Nigeria.
This may not seem to be a “Christmasy” message. And yet it is, in that it calls us to do the work of Christmas. In this season when we celebrate the birth of one whose parents sought refuge first in a stable and then in Egypt, let us offer our prayers for the people of Cameroon and all those who seek safe and peaceful places to live and to thrive – to have the life God intends for us all. As we proclaim the coming of the Prince of Peace, let us continue to pray for and work for Peace on Earth.