How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity! 2It is like the precious oil on the head, running down upon the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down over the collar of his robes. 3 It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion. For there the LORD ordained his blessing, life forevermore. – Psalm 133
Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
I love how the Holy Spirit continues to show up in my daily devotions. As I read Psalm 133 this morning, I could not help but reflect on worship yesterday. What a blessing it was to have Earline Bohling join us for worship and share her faith story and her trip as part of the Synod team that went to Madagascar (our sister synod). For those who were not able to join us, Earline is our current Vice President of the Rocky Mountain Synod Council, and again we were so very blessed to have her share with us. She spoke of how we are able to be part of the greater church in the world. She reminded us of Bishop Gonia’s challenge to us that we are “not an either/or but a both/and” church.
So what do we mean when we ask the question “are we an ‘either/or’ church? Or – are we a “both/and?” It means that we bear witness to the gospel in a way that is always including and never dividing. We are a community gathered around both Word and Sacrament. We speak of the Scriptures as Christ’s living word proclaimed to us in both Law and Gospel. We acknowledge that in this life we live simultaneously as both sinner and saint.
As I spent prayer time in her message and in this Psalm, I found myself drawn into it because of the message it gives us about how joyful life is when we work together, live together, play together, exist together in harmony. You don’t have to look far to find plenty of examples of how we are different from each other. We use all sorts of labels to divide us and I believe that is counter-cultural to what God intends for God’s children. We are not to be divided but rather we are to find ways to live together, even if we don’t always agree. We are reminded that God is present in all things, but God’s greatest blessings come to us when we are united, when we share with one another and care for one another and when we are a “both/and” church.
At this very moment, we have been called to consider the possibility of a shared ministry with our brothers and sisters of Delta Presbyterian Church. How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity! The Holy Spirit has truly opened up an opportunity for us to prayerfully consider. How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity! We are a “both/and” – and this is a moment in our time to truly reflect and prayerfully consider this opportunity. How is God calling us right now? It is difficult to simply trust and enter into a future where we do not have control. There is no doubt that we are filled with “how can we, what would it look like or what about me” type questions. Remember that all things are truly possible when we step back and let God take control. It is the same faith that All Saints lived into when you decided to step out to become a church. It is the same faith that All Saints lived into when you decided to extend a call to me. When we come together, when we let the Holy Spirit lead, we are no longer an “either/or” church, we then live fully into being a both/and church.
How very good and pleasant it is when people live together in unity. As I noted in last month’s newsletter, “Fear not tomorrow, God is already there.” Remember to give thanks that you have been claimed as a child of God and you are invited to the banquet table where all are welcome as a guest of honor. – may these be our guiding words for our lives. God’s love for you and for all people is real. God’s grace and forgiveness exists for all. May we all live our lives to reflect that unity and grace.
Pr. Paul <><
p.s. Did you know??? Martin Luther was eight years old when Christopher Columbus set sail from Europe and landed in the Western Hemisphere. Luther was a young monk and priest when Michaelangelo was painting the Sistine Chapel in Rome.