Living This Church Life
“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” -II Corinthians 5:20-21
“Living your best life” is a phrase I’ve heard a lot lately. What it means for different people can be vastly diverse, but I think the essence is to be focused on doing what you love and not distracted by unnecessary conflicts or problems. This is a lovely idea… in theory. In reality, it is very difficult. That’s not because we ignore our passions, although sometimes we do, it’s because there are a lot of situations over which we have no control and still must engage. We want to have money to travel and enjoy our hobbies and free time, well then, we have to go to work. Hopefully our occupation affords us a liveable wage and opportunities to flourish in creativity and engagement with other people, but most days, it’s probably just about showing up. Even in the church office, there are far too many days when I’m just about checking off a list and performing the obligated tasks, and marching toward Sunday… every single week. Because Sunday keeps coming. (I even heard one of our church kids say that I only work one day a week… sweet cherub has no idea.)
Choosing to engage and live our “best life” as an organization takes focus and attention. Just as in our daily lives, we can connect, or stick to ourselves; there are plenty of things we are obligated to participate in because we are expected to. Sometimes that is unhealthy, but other times, it’s a good habit of showing up and choosing to care. Not every single person in a church is going to be my new best friend… and they don’t have to be. But every single one of them is part of the family, and how we treat our family is important.
Alive, healthy congregations have a level of trust and appreciation for one another. People know that they will be loved and accepted no matter what difficulties may come. They understand that they will be forgiven and embraced no matter what choices they make. If we are truly Christ’s ambassadors as Paul puts it, we are representing God and extending friendship in Christ’s name. How we do this is crucial. Are we speaking the truth in love? Are we welcoming others? Are we resolving conflict in a Biblical and gentle way? Are we ignoring problems and hoping they will just go away, or are we facing the truth and seeking discernment about the way forward together? If we truly engage as a healthy family of God, we will be “Living This Church Life” to the best of our ability!
Lord, You are the cornerstone to the church you have gathered and built, a necessary foundation. You build and bind your people together, so that the whole is greater than the sum, so we can be greater and do far greater than if we were alone. In you, we have our breath, and vitality of life. In you, we are a small part of the kingdom of God’s glory and the work of redemption for all creation. Yet we make ourselves small. We forget to dream. We lose sight and wander in this world. So, forgive us for losing sight of your mission, for letting go of passion, and for ignoring the gift of being your community—the church. Heal us in your Spirit’s power that we might be a community of great faith and deep abiding love for all the world to see. We pray these things in the name of the one who is not finished with us yet, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Please continue to pray for Pastor Ashley and our Uganda Mission Team while they are away: Bob and MaryLynn Merriman, Dan and Heidi Fisk, and Bert Kae Je.
Pastor Hanna will be serving God at the Walk With Christ Retreat in Walla Walla this weekend and so we welcome Rev. Bob Schmitt to our pulpit. Please join us in worship.
Warmly in Christ,
Rev. Hanna P. Shearer
Warmly in Christ,
Rev. Hanna Peterson Shearer