A Community of Love

Dearly Beloved,

This New Year feels complicated -- hopeful yet weary. Beautiful yet uncertain. I was in Lafayette visiting friends on Thursday, December 30th as the Marshall Fires spread, destroying hundreds of homes. Perhaps this is the way of life and the world: we live in the midst of paradox. And in that tension, we find Christ present with us. We discover that weariness need not dim our hope. Nor does uncertainty diminish the beauty or wonder of this world. Christ is here. God is waiting for us. And so, we rest. We reach out. We seek to help one another in love and kindness, courage and compassion. 

My faith helps me to do this. And so does church -- our church. Each of you. Because I am reminded that I am part of a community where we care not only for ourselves but for one another. I am encouraged, supported and challenged by our church community to look for the good and to live in the midst of paradox. 

Now as many of us know from unfortunate (even harmful) experience: church is not automatically life-giving. It is not necessarily supportive and loving. Church doesn't guarantee for disagreement, for differing opinions, for questions or challenges, conflicts, mistakes or trying to make things right. And it's hard work -- right? Trying to be a community of love takes work. Trying to be healthy in our relationships with one another, God and our neighbors takes conscious effort and practice. This Epiphany season, my sermons will focus on some of the characteristics of healthy congregations -- things that we are working on. Areas in which we are growing. And I am grateful that we do this work together. 

This epiphany season, let us hear again the words of theologian and prophet Howard Thurman. Let us live into his call for us to begin the work of Christmas. In hope. In love. And together.

When the song of the angels is stilled, 
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among others,
To make music in the heart.


May it be so,