(Last) Sunday’s Scripture ~ Genesis 18:1-8
This week is your lucky week. In all of the hustle and bustle of last week I neglected to make my post – so this week you will receive two! Thank you for your graciousness in receiving this belated post.
I am overwhelmed by the graciousness and hospitality I have received from the Tuskawilla congregation. Yesterday was my first Sunday at TUMC and the Spirit was tangible. The energy was high. The smiles were warm. We sang. We prayed. We studied Scripture. We gathered around Christ’s table and shared in the meal that he prepared for us. I shook numerous hands, felt the embrace of a few hugs, and heard a number of rebuttals about my choice in football team (Go Packers!) and in the best decade of music ever (The 80s!).
As I serve at TUMC I will continue to come back to this sermon – this Sunday – as it is a reminder of my role in the congregation. As the pastor of this flock, I am not the host. I am the guest. The congregation – the people with the history of this church, that have laughed with her, cried with her, bandaged her, and defended her – they are the host. I have been invited in and entrusted with the stewardship of the church – to care for her, to challenge her, to connect people to her. That is my privilege. That is my joy. And that is my task alongside the people at TUMC.
Sometimes in “ecclesial-culture” a posture is taken between the congregation and that pastor that “we [the congregation] are ready for you [the pastor] to do X Y Z …” In my short time at TUMC I have come to know that this is not their posture. They are ready to partner. They are excited to partner. They have ownership of the church and its ministries and are excited for someone to lead them to another level – to lead them onward.
Through the discernment of the appointive authorities over me I have been selected to be that shepherd. I am ready to work alongside my hosts. I am ready for us to get some dirt under our fingernails as we work in God’s vineyard. I am ready to continue conversations that were started last Sunday, to learn names – lots of names, …and to perhaps hear a few more rebuttals about my choice in music and sports teams.
I am ready – and I trust that God equips.
Prayer: “As Christ breaks bread and bids us share, each proud division ends. The love that made us makes us one, and strangers now are friends, and strangers now are friends.”* Amen.
*”I Come with Joy,” The United Methodist Hymnal, 617.