I am so thankful for you, my Church family. As I slide into the routines of January (work, home, and life), I look forward to the constant rhythm of our gathering together, worshiping Jesus and sharing our lives. I don’t know about you, but the days seem to be coming fast with lots to do ahead. There’s caring for the home-front, tendering all within our spheres. There are the expectations and energy outlay to do the jobs required, fulfilling every demand. And then the life in the margins, all ways we express ourselves and live: chores, workouts, and the rare times for extra activities. Gone are the long pauses and time to look ahead. The Christmas season of reflection and celebration gives way to these days.
So why am I thankful, so thankful for you all? Because in the mad dash to live, there comes the beautiful gathering, where we meet, share greetings, worship Jesus, and affirm that all we desire springs from Him. The strength, the purpose, and hope all flows when we gather. It’s crazy that many in the world view giving up time for God a waste of a good Sunday morning. Little do they know what we experience.
I am inspired every time I hear your thoughts and learn of the ways you’ve made space to serve others as your expression of Jesus’ life within yourselves. These last few weeks, I found myself delighting in hearing that strangers were greeted and invited to dine with you, making space in your homes. I heard and saw whole groups drop everything to make meals and visit our dear brothers and sisters in the throes of great sorrow. Some have even given up the comforts of bed and sleep to be present, a light of hope in the middle of some tragic dark moment. I heard of celebrations for decades lived faithfully seeking Jesus. I am inspired with all the extra seeking and praying you do for us, your Church, fueled by the desire to know Him better.
As this weekend approaches, I know a hundred invitations and schedule demands beg for our attention, energy and time. There are sporting events, friend and family gatherings, a wide range of entertainment streaming into our lives. Susan and I attended a community choir presentation a few weeks ago, the diverse community sang of home and love and hope, but not a single note was sung for Jesus or even God for that matter. The evening ended with a beautiful song calling us to care for one another. The audience, the performers, and conductor all felt the beauty of the moment. The choir director shared, “If we live this in our lives, this harmony, this beauty, we can change the world!” I was struck by his idea, but could any human effort truly change lives forever for the good? There is only one human who did this and is now bringing to life our daily hope: Jesus! Peter states the truth of the matter: “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.” (2 Peter 1:3-4 ESV)
I so appreciate the way Jay is leading us through 1 Corinthians, because the greater hope is being pointed to there. What that community choir hoped to bring to their lives is being produced in Jesus within our community every day. And when we gather, the transformation accelerates, and we gain insight and clarity for the life we’re living every day. What a beautiful thing to see you all living out Jesus’ life! I can’t wait to gather again to thank Jesus and see you. He is bringing about the change that’s going to draw a world to Himself.
I’m so thankful for the Gift-giver, and I treasure you, as a precious part of His gift.