Reading the gospels, Jesus seems to know quite a variety of things. He understood the basics of baking: that yeast leavens and transforms flour from flatbread to a raised loaf. Jesus knew about nature, seedtime & harvest; that human effort, put into sowing seeds and tending plants, reaps a harvest of plenty; that lilies that “neither toil nor spin,” bloom to fulfill their purpose of just being in the world, bringing color, aroma, and joy.
Think of any encounter that Jesus has in the stories of the gospels. Notice how he listens to people, cares for them, loves them. To the downtrodden he offers compassion; to the arrogant and evil he offers challenge (and we all know where that got him!); and he asks us to remember our calling, to turn from our straying, to return to the ways of love, justice and peace. Jesus seems to love engaging and interacting with people.
Our presbytery’s theme this year is “Building Relationships.”
God blesses our church’s ministries as we support one another, as we listen to one another. God blesses us as we celebrate our diversity and vitality, as we bring “good news” to our communities. We are working and we are praying that God will use our limited resources of time, energy, and money to best effect, to be vital, to plant seeds, to flourish and bring life and joy, to be the church, to build up our communities.
Recall the time when you made your commitment to be a follower of Jesus within the church. What was it that made you turn, draw you in, get you to commit?
Was it during a moment of emptiness? Were you in a time of searching?
Were you completely surprised by God’s grace?
Did it come through someone’s caring smile, or challenging word, or kind heart, or gracious welcome?
Because of your relationship with that person, the love of Christ was conveyed to you. At that moment, a light may have come on for you, a pathway opened up, an invitation was accepted, a journey was begun.
Think about the relationships in your life now.
Who is benefiting due to your investment in their life?
How are you blessing others by using your Spiritual Gifts?
What seeds has God planted in you?
How are those seeds flourishing?
What joy are they producing?
Across our country, harvest season is coming to a close and Thanksgiving Day (or season) is upon us. Again, we look and see, despite the suffering of this pandemic, that God continues to bless us. And as you give thanks for God’s vitality in your life and in those you love, may it bring the glory of God.