It seems to me that Jesus knew quite a bit about living a full and meaningful life. Often Jesus suggests that we live life best when we live beyond ourselves and our own needs and desires. In both words and actions Jesus declares that we love God best by loving others. Even more than that, Jesus says that we love God most fully when we love those we do not know, those who are most different than us, and those who are sometimes the most unlovable. These are the strangers, the marginalized, the excluded, the suffering, the displaced, the lonely and the angry ones among us.
Bringing God’s love to all is at the heart of the mission of the church. This Sunday we will see the mission of the church come alive right before our very eyes.
Thomas Kemper, General Secretary of the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church will be with us this Sunday. Thomas will speak at our 9:00 a.m. Adult Forum and be our preacher for our 10:30 a.m. worship service. Thomas and his wife, Barbara Hüfner-Kemper, spent eight years as missionaries in Brazil in the 1980s and 90s.
Also, on Sunday, Michael Madsen will give us an update on our Burmese refugee family which will be arriving in less than three weeks. There are lots of opportunities to support this family. Michael will tell us all about this on Sunday.
And immediately following worship on Sunday our youth will begin their Mystery Mission Trip. They will be on a missional road trip, covering 930 miles and 4 cities in 6 days, working with organizations that focus on environmental or economic justice. Under the leadership of Betsy Lay, our Director of Family Life Ministries, and nine of our youth will be experiencing an adventure filled with opportunities for learning, growing, and sharing in God’s love for the world. Our Director of Music Evanne Brown and Forrest Barclay will also serve as adult leaders. Since this is a mystery trip, the youth do not know where they are headed. They will update us all from the road as the mystery unfolds.
Thomas Kemper will lead the consecration of our youth mission team on Sunday.
All of us can participate by becoming a prayer partner for these amazing young people. See Betsy after worship or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about being a prayer partner.
Jesus often talked about the ways we can love one another. Invariably Jesus emphasized caring for others in practical ways. The poor, the outcasts, the isolated, the suffering, the neglected and the powerless were often at the center of Jesus’ lives. Jesus invites us to live this same kind of way.
“I was hungry and you fed me. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was homeless and you gave me a room. I was shivering and you gave me clothes, I was sick and you stopped to visit. I was in prison and you came to me … I’m telling the solemn truth: whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me – you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:35-36, 40 Peterson Versions, The Message)
See you Sunday. In the meantime, please keep our beloved church in your prayers.