I am currently taking a class on United Methodism 101 which has been a very helpful class for me, especially since I was raised as a Catholic and joined the Methodist church about seven years ago.
This reminds me of some of the recent feedback we have had from the HCI recommendations. We’re encouraged to get out of the building to reach the “nones”. We’re encouraged to free up our Pastor’s time to be out in the community. But this is not a new idea; this is something our church has done before and is now being reminded that it has worked well in the past. This was done thirty years ago when Pastor Wayne Walther and the charter members started Glendale; and this was done over 200 years ago when John Wesley and the early Methodists traveled around America. I have found studying our church’s history has opened up my perspective of who we are as a church, and I’m excited to be part of the next stage.
We are the clay and you are our potter;
We are the work of your hand.” (Isaiah 64:8)
God molding me to be and do in the future to further God’s Kingdom?”
In the book of Esther this orphaned, young Jewish girl found herself placed in a situation that she didn’t want or ask for. She was the only person in all of Persia that had any chance at all to save the Jewish population from annihilation. Even though it was absolutely obvious what she needed to do, God still gave her the free will to choose to carry out this practically impossible mission. Rather than just go running to the King and begging for mercy, Esther first asked her support system to fast for 3 days, which she did as well. During this time she was able to gain the clarity of how she could fulfill this undertaking.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from Your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore unto me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with Your free Spirit.” Amen.
I grew up in a Lutheran church where the pastor and the congregation sang the liturgy. The beauty of the music glorified God and expressed the deep emotions I felt when thinking about how much I loved God. The words above were our Offertory. I committed the words and the beautiful chant to memory, and I often pray this. I sang it as a lullaby to my children and grandchildren. What a lovely way to transmit faith!
1 Corinthians 13:13 (NRSV)
And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.
Mark 12:31 (NRSV)
The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”