Reflections from Pastor Kim—Part 1 of 2
Ahhh, spring! A time of “repair” in so many different ways. There’s cleaning out the gutters from the leftovers of fall, clearing flower beds, and checking soil temps so the seeds we are anxious to plant have the best environment possible for growth and flourishing. As I considered this offering of words, it also brought me to a wondering of what “repair” looks like for Oakland UMC.
First, we’ve just come through the season of Lent, Holy Week and the glory of Easter. So we’ve had time to reflect, look at what is moving inside of our faith—the very soul that exists within us. If we are completely honest, we likely have found things that need a bit of a spruce up; cracks that let things in that can destroy our foundation over time; holes in our umbrella of faith which let’s the world around us encroach on our faith; stumbling blocks in our faith journey that can cause us to fall and become battered and bruised; a lack of structure away from ourselves to support us when the ground under our feet shifts. Whatever it is that has this season has made known to our souls, this is the best time to deal with the issues. Now, before time passes and the issues become overwhelming.
Then I considered how we repair our physical bodies; braces to support us, new joints, partials or dentures, hearing aids, chiropractic or massage time, and chemo treatments, just to name a few. We run tests, we analyze the creaks and groans, we do the research, get estimates for the repairs and move forward as we are able. If we are true to the thought that we are an instrument of God, we make sure we are always as able as possible to carry our God’s call. We also consider preventative actions so that the issues do not become overwhelming.
“Going on from there He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and
John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets;
and He called them.” Matthew 4:21
Also coming to mind were our teams who are working to care for the building that houses our worship and other activities, specifically the Repair Team. Our 1909 building has been through over a century of shelter for the OUMC congregation. It has come to a time when there is great need to do an inventory of foundation cracks, roof leaks with internal damage, loosened bricks and the results of those many years of faithful service. Just like our human selves, buildings need repair—some more than others, yet all have that need. Our Repair Team is doing the research and getting the estimates so that we can move forward. Just like the above, we hope for those repairs to not become overwhelming.
Jesus sat with the fishermen as they repaired nets. Jesus sits with us as we repair our souls. Jesus sits with us as we walk through our human physical repairs. Jesus sits with us as we look at the condition of the building that houses our Faith Family activities. Jesus sits with us. Jesus sits with you. To God be the glory.
Be blessed, be a blessing, and take someone with you on the journey!
REFLECTIONS FROM PASTOR KIM
Who, What, Where, When, Why and How? These are all questions I am asking myself just past the halfway point of Lent. Do any sound familiar to you? Place yourself in all the “I” and “me” spaces.
First is WHO – Who has this Lenten season been about? Me and my unending schedule and tired self, or about Jesus and the role He plays in my life, as well as my need to dig deeper into my faith? Who am I in the servant Body of Christ? Who am I as a Child of God?
Second is WHAT – What does this season do if not to bring me closer to my Savior, become connected to a deeper understanding of God’s Word in my life, and preparing myself for the Easter morning “Alleluia?”
Third is WHERE – Where am I spending my time during each day? Is it in the busy-ness of the world or in the faith-ness of my ever-constant search for deeper faith? Am I letting the schedule of the world overrule the schedule I need to keep for my faith and reliance on God strengthening moments?
Fourth is WHEN – When will I learn to focus on the important stuff, and not the pinpricks and irritating grains of sand in life, and instead focus on love of self, neighbor, siblings in Christ, and through that strengthen my love of God, Christ, and Holy Spirit? When will I be strong enough in my faith to leave the familiar behind and instead reach out and grasp the Will of God with both hands, moving into uncharted territory that is anything but familiar?
Fifth is WHY – Why do I resist faith-filled abandonment into a life of selfless service and dedication to God who loves me even when I mess up royally? Why, when I unintentionally say words with inflection that breeds misunderstanding, stumble through familiar territory that should be an easy journey, make mistakes that make others wonder if I should be known as a Christian, or any myriad of things, do I feel that I am not worthy of the love of God who offers grace and love despite my societal shortcomings and finger pointing of self-righteous humans?
Sixth is HOW – How does my daily life move me closer to the leading of the Holy Spirit in directing my daily steps? How do all the things I’ve mentioned first through fifth come together to give me a better understanding of who I am not by worldly standards, but by God’s standards? How often do I become negligent of my faith because it’s easy or less difficult or boring or overwhelming in ways that just floating through the day is not?
“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”
Matthew 12:28 (NRSV)
Do you see what happened there? All the things that have the potential to bring me joy in the Lord, I turned into a long to-do list of tests and hoops to be passed and jumped through. The only thing e need is this, “Who am I in the servant Body of Christ? Who am I as a Child of God?” John Wesley would probably remind us at this point in our wondering, that God is a God of prevenient grace – the grace that goes before. God is ready and waiting for us to come to the foot of the throne and rest in that “pre” grace. God sits there with us, offering not just a grace that comes only through Him, but lifts up for our hearts and souls a Savior, who is Christ the King. God offers us innumerable chances to call on Jesus as Savior in our lives.
WHO keeps us from calling out? WHAT lets us call out and then worship from afar? WHERE do we let this Savior and this grace be evident in our lives? WHEN will we quit trying to hide our true selves, even though God knows who we were before we were born? WHY do we not witness to a world which so badly needs to see a higher calling on their lives than they currently seek? HOW do we lift up the broken hearted, broken spirited, broken lives people in our midst?
If we break it all down, it rests on the foundation of relationship. Relationship with God, ourselves, our neighbor, our world. Being in relationship takes more than one person. That reminds us that we must walk these worn roadways of faith together. Supporting each other in Christian love and coming together in relationship building fellowship. How does the world know what we fail to bring into the light; that God awaits their acknowledgement?
May we each spend the remainder of our Lenten season focusing on seeking answers to the questions, not the questions themselves. In the midst of all that we say and do be glorifying to God!
Be blessed, be a blessing, and take someone with you on the journey!
Pastor Kim Dewey