September 2021

Last week, Dana and I took some time to relax and get away for a week. It was the first time I had been out of the office in 18 months! I had almost forgot what it was like to relax and revive my spirit, but it was very helpful and needed. Thanks to the Staff, Lay Servant Benny Williams, and the other leaders of worship and the church for their service while I was away.
 
As I’ve come back and started catching up on my reading, I noticed that last week’s lectionary texts were about the book of James. This book is usually attributed to James, the brother of Jesus, who was writing to the early church composed of Jews and Christians, and facing persecution. The purpose of his work was to keep the church from self-deception. He talks about people glancing in a mirror and then forgetting what they look like. Of course, we all know what we look like, but James uses this illustration to say that unless “actions” accompany our faith, we forget who we are (Disciples for Jesus Christ) and that we belong to God.
 
The bible calls us to belief and action, not merely to “glance”, like glancing in a mirror, but to engage the scripture in deep thought and to live out its teachings in the world. “If we don’t do anything with what we hear”, writes Enuma Okoro, a biblical scholar, “it’s no better than a cursory glance that effects no change in how we live.”
 
I know the church is faced with many challenges, especially with our second wave of COVID, but I want to encourage you to keep living out your faith in the world. Maybe that means helping with our Well Ministry that begins the Wednesday after Labor Day, or being a part of a new evangelism ministry that we will implement based on our “Catch” sermon/lesson series, to be shared and discussed on September 21st. Maybe that means joining the choir, which starts practice on September 15th, or saying yes to serving in one of the ministries of our church as we put together our leadership teams for Charge Conference. Maybe that means praying for and offering a financial gift to an Advance Special for relief efforts in Afghanistan, or for/to victims of the earthquake in Haiti, or for/to victims of destruction that will come from Hurricane Ida (At the writing of this article, Hurri-cane Ida has only begun its destruction, so information about this last one will be forthcoming).
 
There are many ways for us to serve God, so let’s don’t just give the church a glance. Let’s engage our faith! Maybe this is the new beginning from God that we’ve been looking for.
 
In Christ’s footsteps we walk,
Pastor Roger