August 21, 2019
Updated: Aug 22, 2019
My family and I spent the past two Sundays away on vacation from First Presbyterian Church of Berthoud, but that doesn't mean we took a vacation from worshiping. We wanted to show our children that God is always worthy of our worship, so even on our vacation from my pastoral work, we took them to visit other churches. Both congregations we visited were part of the 1001 New Worshiping Communities movement, an effort by our denomination to plant over a thousand new communities dedicated to making new disciples of Jesus. Both congregations share this same mission, though they express it in ways that differ from each other and from our church in Berthoud.
At Central Latinx in Longmont, the service took place almost entirely in Spanish. To the sound of guitar and piano we sang, "Abre mis ojos, O Cristo, abre mis ojos te pido. Yo quiero ver te." The Rev. Chuy Gallegos preached on Isaiah 1, inviting us to "cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, and plead for the widow" (Isaiah 1:16-17). A week later, at Pine Ridge Ministries in rural Carlile, Wyoming, fifty people gathered in an old country church building to hear the Rev. Shayla Graham preach on 1 Thessalonians 5:18, "Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." We sang honestly of the challenge of giving thanks in hard times, "This is my prayer in the fire / in weakness or trial or pain. / There is a faith proved of more worth than gold, / so refine me, Lord, through the flames."
I thank God that through our common baptism and faith in Christ, we are truly one Body with the believers with whom we worshiped over the past two weeks. Ephesians 4:4-6 says, "There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all." We're different, but these differences allow us to reach different people and make new disciples in different contexts. Over all of those differences, we have one God and Father and one Lord whom we serve.
As Presbyterians, we express our solidarity with the larger Body of Christ through participation in the life of our regional group of Presbyterian churches, the Presbytery of Plains and Peaks. This Presbytery, after over a year of preparation, has completed its search for a new leader called an Executive Presbyter.The final candidate will be present at our church from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. today (Wednesday, August 21) to meet and greet local church members and leaders. Come join us to meet this candidate if you're available. If you can't come, please pray for wisdom to be given to the Presbytery as we vote whether or not to confirm this call on Saturday, August 24. If you'd like another way to express unity in the Body of Christ today, Central Latinx is hosting a presentation by Jocabed Gallegos about the recent history of immigration between Latin America and the United States tonight at 7:00 p.m. at the Longmont Senior Center (910 Longs Peak Ave.) Jocabed works with the Presbyterian border ministry Frontera de Cristo. I hope that whether at these events or others in the near future, you too can share in the joy of building relationships with the larger Body of Christ.
Grace and Peace,