West Union United Methodist Church
Sunday, September 19, 2021
Luke 10:27

Pastor's Corner

 

 Stirrings of the Waters*

(thoughts, observations, hopes, and/or movements of the Spirit)

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,

Members and friends of West Union United Methodist Church,

I’ve had conversations recently that caused me to wonder, “Why are we so unwilling to be happy?” The Gospel is “Good News.” It seems to me that good news would be cause to celebrate, to be of good spirits, and to enjoy life. Then I remembered a conversation years ago with a mother struggling with two teen-age sons, who when asked if she’d rather be happy or be right, chose being right . . . or at least believing and acting as if she were. I was sad. It seemed an easy choice to me—to be happy with her sons—and she was unwilling. How often are we unwilling?

I pray for you as the author of the Letter to the Ephesians writes:

My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask God to strengthen you by God’s Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask God that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God. God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! God does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, God’s Spirit deeply and gently within us.

Last Sunday I recalled with you the stories told by members and families of a congregation in Des Moines as they prepared for their Pledge Sunday. Each told briefly how they had come to the congregation, how it became their home, and why it was important to them. There were stories of invitation, of redemption, of pain leading to resolution, of reconciliation, of joy. We learned about ourselves and the impact we each had in all of our lives. Each Sunday was another surprise.

 

 As in this prayer from the third chapter of Ephesians, we experienced “the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love.”

This Sunday, August 29th, the reading from the Hebrew Bible is found in the Song of Solomon. It’s a love letter. Psalm 45 continues the theme of being in love: in love with one another, in love with God, and receiving God’s amazing and limitless love. Again, it’s an opportunity for joy.

Perhaps we need practice. Joy practice: an opportunity to polish our loving skills, to offer a breath of peace to each other, to share laughter and delight, and to understand that it, too, is part of the ministry to which we are called.

Blessings to you as you open yourself to joy and to the extravagance of Christ’s love. I rejoice with you in all that God has done for and in you.

Grace and peace,
Rick
 

 

* Refers to John 5:2-9, especially verse 4, concerning the pool at Bethesda within which, according to legend, when the water was stirred by an angel one might enter and be healed.