Pastor’s eNote: Communal Spirituality Will Change the World

Based on the study of Romans 12

Recently, “Open My Eyes” from the United Methodist Hymnal spoke to my heart. Specifically…

  • Open my eyes that I may see glimpses of truth God has for me.
  • Open my ears that I may hear voices of truth God sends so clear.
  • Open my heart and let me bear gladly the warm truth everywhere.

Whether studying history or today’s headlines it’s frightening to see what human beings do to each other. We see history unlike those living it, results in context, and judge, “how could people not see what was happening and do something?” Hindsight is 20/20.  Like past generations, our foresight less than 20/20 and WE NEED GOD! With open eyes we see what God shows us. With open ears we hear what God needs us to hear. Next comes the “do something”. With open hearts we share the transformational truth in love with everyone, even with those who are hostile when receiving it.  We are meant to see, not look away. Hear, not tune out.  Share, like Jesus, in love. But how? The passage Romans 12 speaks of learning and doing.

Romans 12:9 says “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.” Verse 9 focuses on the verb love because it’s what we do (or do not do) that makes us hypocrites. “Abhor” and “cling”, according to Merriam-Webster mean we are “to regard with extreme repugnance: to feel hatred or loathing for” evil and “to hold or hold on tightly or tenaciously” to what is good.  But what is good and evil?  Who do we trust with that definition and distinction? Are we teaching our children to distinguish good from evil and how to respond as a child of God? Do we teach by example how to respond to evil like Christ?

I read news from all over the world and see two things; 1) history is repeating itself and 2) people have not changed. There are those who hear about the underpinnings for larger efforts and look the other way because it doesn’t involve them directly or “someone will stop it”. I am “someone” and so are you.  

I see other sinister people piling onto evil efforts to harm individuals, families, communities, and our future because “they do not know what they are doing” and frankly, they do not care. Who is leading that? Not Jesus.  What was Jesus doing when He asked the Father to forgive “them”, for they “do not know what they are doing”? People were at their worst all around Jesus at the cross. He died for them. He died for us and for them. Why?  “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” John 3:16-17  Through him, God reaches and saves!

You and I were created for communal spirituality! What is Communal Spirituality? They’re the three S’s we miss about church years ago: being social, being spiritual, being of service.  The three S’s define communal spirituality and why we matter!  Starting April 23rd we will focus on a return to Communal Spirituality with a message series called “We” Matter.  To prepare, I’d like you to prayerfully consider the following.

Covenantal Questions We Ask Ourselves as the Basis for Communal Spirituality

  1. How is it with my soul?
  2. What have my challenges been?
  3. What have my joys been?
  4. What would I like to be accountable for?

Join us in person, watch live via Zoom, or listen to each message by phone at 814-422-6238.

With hands to the plow,

Pastor Theresa