Over the last two weeks I have had more than adequate time to think about life, ministry, and the world. I also had the opportunity to worship as a member of a congregation for the last two Sundays. This was probably the good thing that came out of my recent health problems (which are still ongoing at this point), as I was able to sit and just relax to experience worship. This last semester was one of great challenge and reflection, and is still continuing at this point. I’ve been evaluating my place in the church, my role as a pastor, and how I can use my gifts to improve the people and churches I work with. This has been a process that has left me tired and weary on many days.
This last Sunday I heard a very thought provoking sermon, well at least for me, on Love. I always enjoy David’s sermons, but this one really spoke to me at this point in time. His title was “Love Builds Up.” Immediately I began to think about my life and how I operate, but I also thought about ministry and my direction in it. Love is so much a part of my personal theology, in fact, in may THE essential part of it. I believe in love, and hope for love, and want to spread love to others. While I believe all this, I often wonder how I do this or if I really do?
Love guides me to social justice, to being inclusive, and to being in ministry. Hope for each and every person feeling loved is what drives me to continue on in my career path. The most powerful part of the sermon that caught me was the thought that Love crosses boundaries. The Love of God, as experienced through Jesus, crosses the boundaries we put up as humans. Love should always be our focus, our goal, and our guiding principle. Likewise, Love needs to be MY focus, MY goal, and My guiding principle. I think that it may not be the case most of the time. I regret that I too often just function and maintain the status quo, and that I don’t push the idea of opening ourselves up to Love each and every person we interact with.
I did not realize the power of Love until much later in my life. In fact, probably did not totally until very recently. Unconditional Love is a concept that is difficult to comprehend and accept. Thankfully I have people in my life to remind me of this fact, and love me unconditionally. I owe these people more for my recent development and growth than I can ever truly convey. The feeling of someone loving you should be the way we feel about God, church, and the people at church. This needs to be my focus and the model I give to my ministry. I’m still struggling with how I can do this in the most effective way, and in what form of ministry I can do this the best. This is something I will be contemplating and working on here in the near future.
I hope that each and every person in the world can feel loved at some point in her or his life. Feeling alone and without Love is a horrible thing, and the church should do more to show people compassion and comfort. This is my hope and dream for the church, and my goal to work on!
Grace, Peace, and Love,