In the month of October, we entered into the period where this congregation traditionally explores ideas of stewardship. In doing so, we used the lens of “stepping up” our levels of commitment to this congregation, particularly in our prayers, our presence, our gifts, our service, and our witness. And together we responded in wonderful ways!
Note: If you’d like to re-visit these sermons (or even for the first time), you can find them here.
This is most easily seen related to financial giving as related in our Finance Committee’s reflections on page 6 of our January Beach Breeze, but – as I often assert – finance is not our only commitment to the members of our community. I have heard from members about the spiritual growth experienced when spending a bit more time in prayer. I have received several suggestions from members who are committed to stepping up our presence (witness) here in PB, most recently as more than a dozen PB UMC members walked through the streets near the church and sang Christmas carols to our neighbors. And of course, members have committed to stepping up in service both inside and outside the church. This is evident in the increased number of people volunteering during our Wednesday evening Project Grace meal each week, new people stepping into committee and other support roles, and many other opportunities submitted through the pink sheets distributed during Worship back in October.
Continuing in the analogy of “stepping up,” we must also see that the most dramatic changes take place with more steps. While it is surely worth celebrating this effort to increase our engagement with our faith community, we might also understand that there will always be opportunities for continued growth both personally and collectively. Thankfully, we affirm a God who continues to encourage and strengthen and guide. Isaiah 40:31 reminds us that
…those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength; they will fly up on wings like eagles; they will run and not be tired; they will walk and not be weary.
This month, we begin a new calendar year. Our culture’s tradition is to make resolutions or commitments to ways we might improve our physical, emotional, or spiritual selves. I submit that this tradition might remind us to stay motivated, to maintain the commitments into which we’ve stepped so that we can continue our upward trajectory and achieve even more than we imagine.
Stay open and aware, dear friends. God continues to make things new. We have just celebrated again the newness of the infant Jesus in our hearts and our lives. Let us remain focused on the teaching and healing of one we call
Prince of Peace;
the one we call Messiah;
the one we call Savior;
the one we call Christ.
In this newness, let us explore new ideas. Let us pray continuously. Let us grow spiritually. Let us share our faith courageously and unapologetically. And let us continue to grow our commitment to shining the light of Christ in our communities and the world.
May we all continue to experience the profound love of our God through Jesus Christ.