What do you love about our church? Lately, I’ve been asking that question a lot. It’s wonderful to hear the responses. I am convinced that the many things we love about our church are exactly what our world needs!We welcome and embrace children, youth, adults, families of all kinds, and people in all ages and stages of life! We love each other and we are passionate about enlarging the circle of our precious community to bring God’s tender and merciful care to everyone we can.I believe we are saying yes to God’s invitation to push the boundaries of our welcome, our inclusiveness and our diversity. We are saying yes to the challenge to be co-creators with God as we grow an ever expanding faith community filled with people who thank God every day that they found First United Methodist Church of Boulder — whether they found it many years ago or just came across it today. I bet there were visitors in worship last Sunday who went home thanking God that they came to our church. In fact, I know there were. I talked to several this week.Right now it seems to me that we are being increasingly courageous in telling the story of our church. It is a beautiful sight to see. I really believe that there are many out there who are waiting and waiting for someone to tell them our story. I believe our beloved church is, and will be, the answer to the prayers of many. These are the ones who are looking for a faith community where they will be accepted exactly where they are today. These are the ones who are looking for a faith community where they will be supported in their spiritual growth through nurturing relationships. And these are the ones who are looking for a faith community that will work for justice for all and especially for those who are marginalized by not only the dominant culture but also too often by churches themselves.It is easy to become fearful about the future. Churches are really good at this. Jesus talks about the peace that passes all understanding, yet churches too often settle for the peace that anyone can understand. They settle for this limited sense of peace by focusing on limited goals, by focusing on deficits, by bemoaning a lack of resources and by reaching out only to people who are like themselves. Settling for this limited kind of peace both hurts God and diminishes us. Moreover, it simply doesn’t work. It doesn’t work because it is not the way of Jesus who seemed to believe that if we focus on inclusion and justice God will give us everything we really need.
My experience is that when we do focus on what God is asking us to do, God does provide us with all we need — leadership, resources, dollars and more. And when we focus on what God is asking us to do we are following the way of Jesus … and I think we are also on the path that is paved with that peace that passes all understanding. Our beloved church is on that path and I am glad to be on this path with you all.
Keep our beloved church in your prayers. I remember you in mine and I look forward to seeing you soon.