- Do I encounter people of different faiths on a regular basis?
- How would understanding what they believe and why they believe it impact my own faith life?
- What is benefit of understanding the ins and outs of another faith tradition?
If you've been in church the past few weeks, then you know we are in the middle of a sermon series about the church's core values. These six words are pillars which our congregation stands on, and they serve as a reminder for who we are. This Sunday, we will be focused on our core value of inclusivity. The following is a quote that I want us to think about as we are working towards being a more inclusive community:
"We are made to tell the world that there are no outsiders." -Desmond Tutu
What I like about this quote is the active language it uses. We are being called to "tell" everybody that they belong. Telling people things can appear in many different ways. You can tell people that you love them through actions of gift giving, or spending quality time. You can also tell in a more literal sense, like telling a friend that you are grateful for their relationship. However, I think Tutu wants us to do more than speak. This means more than asking the new kid if they want to join you for lunch. This means creating an open space at the table, and fostering a community that exhibits the radical hospitality of Christ, so that there is no question as to whether or not the new kid should join you. Contributing to a community of inclusivity is not always easy, especially if it feels like you're the only one trying. It's easy to forget that we are created and called to love, regardless of how long our day/week/month/year has been. I urge you to remember that we are not alone in this struggle. Your friends, peers, parents, teachers, and ministers are alongside you as we strive to bring wholeness to our world.
So, reach out! When you run out of ways to welcome the stranger, ask for some advice from those who you feel have been doing it well. I learn a new way to welcome somebody every Sunday as I watch our youth of all ages run around the church, and I bet you can, too!
Hope to see you on Sunday!
Last week we released the newest episode of Ministry Musings, a bi-weekly podcast recorded here at UCC. This episode was between myself and Rev. Dr. Todd Prickett, and he mentioned something very intriguing about the words we sing in worship. We, as a community, are singing those words to God.
It got me thinking about a song I learned at camp this summer. The song was called "Labor Unto Glory," and the chorus goes like this:
Oh, we labor unto glory
'Til heaven and earth are one
Oh, we labor unto glory
Until God's kingdom comes
The word "unto" is interesting here, because it can mean "to," "until," or a blend of both. Thus, when we sing these words we are saying that we will work to, or work towards, God's glory being fully present. We are also saying that we will work until God's glory is fully present.
It's a bold claim, and it leads to a few questions.
What does that work look like?
How does this thought of "laboring unto glory" impact our every day tasks?
When and where does this work take place?
As we enter into Labor Day weekend, take some time to reflect on these questions, and have a conversation with your family about them.
Grace and Peace,