Tuesday, August 2, 2016

August Newletter message

Throughout the summer months the church is in Ordinary Time.  And it does seem pretty ordinary; summer with the hot long days that get filled to the brim with the comings and goings of all the ordinary things of life.  Sure there are some highs and lows in our summer with vacations and memories but most summers are ordinary.  In fact most of our life can seem pretty ordinary.  But Ordinary time in our church is anything but ordinary.  It is the time in our church calendar that we hear the Word both written and preached about how we respond to God in our life.  How do WE respond to God in our life?  The non-ordinary times of our calendar year we are either hearing about Jesus, anticipating Jesus, making room in our hearts for Jesus, accepting Jesus or the Holy Spirit, or celebrating the triune God.  But not now, now it is about how we go about in our ordinary lives incorporating our Christian identity.  And what better time than one of the busiest seasons? What better time for us to be focusing on responding to God in our life than when we are in the midst of full days?  I know that at the end of a busy summer day I think to myself I don't think I could have fit anything else in!  And yet God is calling us, reminding us and giving us this time to do just that - to make sure there is room for God in our lives. This Ordinary time runs 32-33 weeks a year (depending on the calendar dates for the Baptism of the Lord and Epiphany Sunday).

I am reminded of the passage in Joshua 24 that proclaims "As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord".  During Advent we prepare ourselves for Christ to come into the world, at Lent we work on our personal relationship with God and on Easter we celebrate in Salvation. Now we are called to respond in the world as a Christian, as someone with a relationship to God, as someone who serves the Lord.  On Sunday we listen to sermons that show us how to live in response to God, we hear about Mary and Martha, we hear about the Good Samaritan, we hear about those Jesus healed, we learn how to pray and most importantly we learn that responding to God means more than just having a relationship to God during the Holy times but means that in all that we do, in all that we speak, we serve the Lord.  When life is busy, God is there; when days are full, God is here; when life gets messy, God is there; when life got scary; God is there.  I would say this is true “more than ever" but I think the better way to say this is: as always it is important to invite God into our lives.  For with God comes a message of hope, a feeling of love, moments of joy, a sense of peace, grace that abounds and love that remains.

This Summer has been more than just "ordinary" we will forever remember the loss that has come to our nation with the loss of lives at the hands of others, at the losses in the world around us (Paris and Turkey to name a few) and at the great sense of political divide.  We could easily let the cares of the world overwhelm us.  We could easily let the negative rhetoric engulf our hearts.  We could easily fall into the trap of shutting the door to God.  We could easily think God doesn't care.

But God does care!  God does not abandon.  God does not cease loving us.  God is good.  God offers grace and love.  God offers hope and peace.  God offers love and light.  God offers with open arms ready to engulf with a love that is strong and a light that can blind. But the ball is in our court.  We must respond to God.  We must be able to respond in the world, in our daily lives to our Christian identity.

        We are being asked by God to be more than just those who wait for the baby in a manger; more than those who celebrate a birth through the joy of gift giving; more than those who long for a relationship or who celebrate a rising.  We are called to be more than those who sit and receive the Holy Spirit but those who respond to that gift.  Now is the time, as it is always, to respond to the world showing that God is good and that God comes with a message of hope, a feeling of love, moments of joy, a sense of peace, grace that abounds and love that remains.  We are meant to be the light in the world of darkness shining the way to the house of God.  We are meant to proclaim that we will not let the weight of the world or the evil that seems to be consuming it break us from serving our Lord and trusting in our faith.  Let us go out and let the light of God shine!