Together you and I in an enormous conspiracy of love in action can stop Rachel’s weeping and wailing. So this year when I come to the manger and look upon Mary, Joseph and the Christ child I will also be thinking about all the other mothers, fathers and vulnerable children whose lives we can make a life affirming.
I heard confirmation of the presence of the Risen Christ and knew that the efforts of the volunteers and Imagine No Malaria staff were bearing fruit. In the faces so many of the people I met, I saw reflected the face of Christ. The people of Sierra Leone are not only being transformed, but they are becoming agents of transformation for the cause of saving lives.
United Methodists have a rich tradition of honest, principled differences regarding issues of war and peace in our nation. What is gratifying is the unity in providing spiritual support for those who serve in the military and their families. Only one major military installation is located within the boundaries of our conference, but occasions to minister to those who serve are not diminished. How can our churches minister effectively and faithfully to those who serve, to their families, and to the United Methodist chaplains who are our presence in Christ to these young men and women? Every church in our conference, regardless of size, can make a difference. Here are some possibilities.
Malaria kills 1 million of the 300 million Africans each year. Most deaths from malaria are in children under the age of 5 years of age and pregnant women.
A donation of $10 will buy a bed net which could help save a life. A donation of $1,000 could save as many as 100 lives, and this translates to approximately $28 per month over the three-year funding cycle. Please prayerfully consider helping the Imagine No Malaria initiative. In the name of Jesus Christ our Redeemer, Sustainer, and Healer may we all be moved by the Holy Spirit to help.
A truly powerful church is seen not only in the way individual lives are being transformed. In the church at Antioch “the evidence of the grace of God” was also real in how they gave to and for others.
Preaching is embodied in a particular person, and the more effectively we learn how to communicate the message of the gospel, the more lives will be touched and transformed. The content of the sermon is only one aspect of the mystery of preaching. If we spend as much time and care with the delivery of the sermon as we do with the preparation of the content, our preaching will be much more compelling. The non-verbal aspect of preaching can best be summarized by three words: poise, presence, and passion.
People of all ages respond to the rituals of Christmas in ways we don’t fully understand. Ritual has a way of forming us, and involving many people in your church in Advent and Christmas rituals expands the rituals’ potential for impacting people in a new way. For instance, many churches include families or people of different ages in the lighting of the Advent wreath during worship each Sunday.
Fred Pratt Green penned the words below which is the first verse of the hymn Rejoice In God’s Saints (No. 708 in the United Methodist Hymnal). This year as we approach All Saints Day they speak to me poignantly as I continue to rejoice and give thanks for the life, faith and ministry of Bishop James Samuel Thomas.
The September 2010 issue of The Current is a milestone on a number of fronts.
Our commitment has not wavered from those beginning steps as a new conference. However, times have changed and how people get their news and information continues to be in a state of flux and our latest move is in keeping with the times in which we live.
As the pace of activity quickens let us together resolve to work smart, to focus on those activities that have the greatest likelihood of “high yield”, and to remember to cease from doing on a regular basis (Sabbath) in order to renew and remember whose work we are really engaged in.