We Are About Relationships
I hope you’re able to be in worship this Sunday, May 20, because we have many things to celebrate together as a congregation. I know, it’s going to be hard to top last Sunday, when we shared a baptism, the commissioning of Stephen Ministers, the music of Celia Whitler and the welcoming of new members. But this Sunday we will celebrate our congregation’s twenty-fifth anniversary at the same time that we will confirm 16 young people as disciples of Jesus Christ and members of the church.
This past weekend I was able to spend some time with our confirmation class as they gathered for their final retreat. They have spent the past nine months learning about the Christian faith and the United Methodist Church; they have participated in missions together; they have learned about the Scriptures; and they have shared their lives, their questions and their faith with each other. Throughout these nine months, each confirmand has been guided by a mentor, a member of the congregation who accompanied them and loved them through this journey.
I heard from one of the mentors recently, who had some amazing things to say about the confirmation experience. She and her confirmand talked “about how becoming a member [of the church] is a great choice, but it’s how we live our lives, how and what we believe and how we treat/help others that it most important. I have renewed my own spirituality through this class. I have never been to a Temple! I learned more about John Wesley!” Her enthusiasm was overflowing as she recounted how much serving as a mentor has strengthened her own faith.
As I reflected on her words, I began to wonder how many mentors have grown in their faith as they walked with a young person through the journey of confirmation. I began to think about how many people have been confirmed and have committed their lives to Christ through this congregation.
Then I began to think about how many lives have been changed by the love of Christ that is moving in and through this congregation. How many meals have been served? How many Habitat houses have been built? How many homeless friends have been welcomed here? How many children have learned to sing “Jesus Loves Me?” How many adults have heard God speak to them in Bible study together? How many broken hearts have been comforted by the love and care of others in this congregation?
There’s no way to count or measure all of the ways that people’s lives have been touched and changed by the Holy Spirit’s work in this congregation. What we do know is that it is all God’s work. As we gather on Sunday to celebrate our past, our present and our future as a congregation, we know that all of the praise and gratitude goes to God. Thanks be to God, who was, and is and is to come!