Endings and Beginnings

Throughout the Perfectly Imperfect Preaching Series, I’ve been writing these posts about the Perfectly Imperfect Church. As we end the story of David there is a certain dour-ness to David’s story. My sermon title is Not So Happy Ending and while that is true for David. I don’t think that has to be true for UMCG.

Like David, we are faithful and have our challenges. We have made our mistakes and will reconcile those mistakes. Unlike David, I hope we don’t double down on our own self-sufficiency and self-justification that compounds that which hinders us and instead discover healing, wholeness and new life for today and future generations of UMCG.

Another way we can end up in a better place than David and his family is to build upon our Church Council’s leadership on the next steps of the Church-Wide Assessment and begin healing work in our congregation as discussed at our recent Church Council meeting on February 22.

Another way we can do that is to keep God at the center of our church and, if or when God is moved out of the center, correct course.

We can remember some of the lessons this series teaches us:

  • God doesn’t require perfection in order to be used by God.
  • God uses even the small and unexpected to deliver us from the giants in our lives. 
  • God reconciles relationships to free us so that we can serve God faithfully.
  • God empowers us to be peacemakers and agents of mercy.
  • God forgives our sin to free us from shame so that we can live faithfully even in the midst of the consequences of our sin.
  • God uses our messy and broken lives for God’s purposes in the world.

Lent, which begins on March 2nd, is a whole season where we work to keep God at the center of our lives and church. Our Lenten focus will be on 5 core or essential practices of the Christian faith that help us grow in love of God and neighbor. Adam Hamilton’s book The Walk will be one major resource of our Lenten journey. Through both the book and our Worship focus for Lent we will explore worship and prayer, study, serving, giving and sharing as those core practices that keep God at the center of our lives and our church. We are putting together a Lenten guide to help you live into these practices during lent.

Lastly, we begin Lent with Ash Wednesday, March 2. This is a time to commit to turning away from sin and our life toward God as we face the reality of sin and death. We are offering both the traditional 7:30pm Ash Wednesday service in our sanctuary and a new offering of Ashes-to-Go between 6:30-8:30am. You can swing through the west parking lot and Pastor Rob will walk up to your car by the door and offer you ashes. This is a quick and easy way to begin your Lenten season and make your commitment to deepening your relationship with God. 

Just as one season ends another begins. This is true of our weather, our liturgy and our lives.

Blessings for the journey,