It has been nearly a year now since I’ve moved to “God’s country” and not a day goes by that I do not thank God for being here in Pleasant Valley. I continue to see and experience a faith community that strives, and at times, struggles to do Christ’s work in the world. How we measure that work is an elusive idea these days. It amazes me how much work the church has to do in today’s world. How many opportunities there are knocking on our doors seeking God’s Word. How many places God would have us serve and bring the Good News. We are used to counting numbers of people brought into the fold – the letters of Paul will speak of thousands baptized in just one day. And – O that we could have that kind of experience at PVUMC!
At the same time that we look at the numbers of people who so sorely need not only the word and acts of love that we as Christ’s body have to offer, we must never lose sight of the awesome impact the smallest of our actions can have on someone. A smile in the supermarket line just might avert an evening of domestic violence at home. A listening ear at the market may provide the only company a single mother has had for several days. And a compliment about her kids or her parenting might just let her soar through the week ahead.
Of course the reverse is true. An unkind word spoken with or without thinking can be powerfully wounding. Judging someone else’s life style or culture or way of thinking is something only God’s infinite wisdom can discern – and the examples from Christ are always of acceptance and love. For some reason, words of criticism, words of negativity carry more weight and serve to bring the spirit of a group down faster than words of encouragement and love.
One thing is for sure, and that is the more kind and loving things we say to one another, the more loving a community will form around us and radiate out from us. I challenge each of us to keep that goal foremost in our minds as we gather together, be it on Sunday mornings, for meetings, in small groups, and in the “parking lot” meetings. So many people need to hear words of encouragement. So many people come to church who need to be built up. In fact, each and every one of us needs that. Besides which, that’s something each and every member of this body of Christ can do. And in doing that, the love and warmth of this community will spread further and further afield. At the core of this church resides the Holy Spirit waiting for those Holy Spirit holes to burst forth in power and grace and glory. Let’s let the Holy Spirit thrive at PVUMC. Let’s let God lead the planning and see where we wind up.
Peace, Pastor Lynne