While working through the series of parables in Matthew 25, I was struck once again by the need to be a light bearer. The bridesmaids were honorably tasked with the two-fold work of watching for the bridegroom and lighting the way for his arrival. They were not just to see him coming, but call attention to him enlightening his presence with their own lamps.
We in the church are tasked similarly. We are to keep an eye out for the bridegroom, Jesus. When we see him coming, we are to give witness to his presence so that others know he is here among us. We do this by telling folks about the kingdom of God when we see it break into our world. As we do this work, we are being wise bridesmaids who fill our lamps with the oil of testimony.
For some of us, testimony is an unfamiliar word because we have not experienced it much in church. Yet, our world is filled with testimony. Social media offers testimony with every post and tweet. Advertisers invite you into the story of the product or service you must have to make your life complete. Friends text with news, good and bad. They bring events to light with their testimony. In like manner, we are called to do the same. Only we are called to bring to light a story that can make a difference in another’s life forever.
Friends, bear light by giving witness to the light breaking into our dark world, Jesus. Note when you see his kingdom pressing into our reality and help others see God living, active, and loving in all of our lives.
Grow like a mustard seed,
Saturday, September 16 the church council met to consider the needs of people and how our church could help. We identified 5 different groups of people and are beginning to share our hopes and dreams about connecting people with need.
One group we identified to help are people who need support. There are moments when we need an extra ear to bend, or an extra hand to help, or a ride, or a meal, or to do some work we can no longer do. There are moments when any of us might be able to help meet a need like these in our church community. Would you be willing to help? Come sign up to be part of the team of helping hands for those who need extra support.
Another group we identified to help are youth. There are skills youth need to know that are not taught in school, or on the ball field, or in the dance class, or in the practice room. These are life skills that can be taught by folks who are willing to share their life experience with youth who ae willing to learn. As we identify those life skills, we will be asking people to help grow our youth by teaching them what you know.
More to come. But these are two directions we are looking to move as we grow connecting people with need. Come be part of the action.
I was intrigued by Eugene Peterson’s rendition of Luke 13:18-19. We know it as the parable of the mustard seed. But Peterson told the parable this way: the Kingdom of God is like a pine nut which grows into a tree with thick branches where the eagles make nests in its branches.
I began thinking about pine nuts. They are small, tasty, and filled with a divine destiny. Their future is to grow in size and provide for others. Jesus says the Kingdom of God is small (right now) but filled with a divine destiny that includes growth, provision, and a sense of home-base.
When I think about us as a church, we are like a pine nut. We are small right now, worshipping from 108 to 130 people on Sunday with a Sunday school hovering around 35+ people. Our divine destiny is to grow in spiritual maturity, numbers, and ministries. We are meant to provide others with an experience of the Kingdom of God in our worship (in-reach) and our witness (out-reach). We are to grow strong in the Lord to provide a home base so that people can launch out into the world like eagles to provide loving service to our neighbors.
Pushing the parable further, a tree as it grows stretches two directions. First it stretches up toward the sun. Next the branches stretch out to expose more leaves to the sun. As a church community, we are always stretching up toward God. The Bible tells us to seek the kingdom and we do so vigorously. We also are always stretching out toward our neighbors. We look to share Jesus and his love in acts of service. Have you ever noticed that as a tree grows up and out it bends and changes to maximize it’s exposure to the sun? In like manner as we grow up and out, we make adjustments in ministry and make changes in how we do things to maximize our efforts to God’s glory.
These are just a few of the ways this parable speaks to me. In what ways does this parable speak to you about Friedens? God bless you in your meditations.
Reaching up toward God, out to neighbor,