Shortly after we moved in to our house, our son noticed a bird nest lodged above our side door. It was beautifully crafted to balance in one of the braces that held up an old fashioned over hang. It was constructed of a variety of materials and seemed to be rock solid. Days later, we heard the chirping of baby birds. The babies’ parents flew in and out to insure that their babies had what they need. The idea of nests often connotes the idea of shelter, coziness, and comfort. That bird family enjoyed exactly that, right above our door.
Here’s the thing about nests (suggests Robert Schnase); the nests are not for the birds who build them, but for the next generation and for the future of their family. The hours of carrying sticks and mud, and the weeks of defensive watchfulness and endless feeding are all for the benefit of others.
Think a moment of the church nests we build. Consider the gatherings, the classes and the ministries. Which ones are for our own comfort and coziness and which ones do we consciously build and orchestrate in order to further the faith and future of others? Do we attend and serve in those ministries with this goal in mind?
The nest did its job with those birds. It wasn’t long before we didn’t hear them anymore. They had been nurtured and strengthened and were empowered to fly…and they did! What if our ministries not only fed us, but were built to nurture others and enable them to be nurtured and strengthened in the faith? What would happen if we made it the primary goal to love others in the strength of Christ so that they may fly and go do the same? It is what Christ asks us to do and is the mission of our church. We are to go and “Make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”
This year with the Wednesday night Gathering, I invite you to enable others to fly. This will mean leaving your own nests. When you arrive for the meal, you may wish to sit with all your own friends at one table creating a lovely nest. Instead, I invite you to take a friend and sit with someone you don’t know or don’t know well. Nurture them with hospitality and kindness. Conversation cards will be available and Spanish translators will be floating about. THEN, feel free to go to the classes you love and have long attended. And know in doing this, you have answered Christ’s loving call once again. (Because already, I have watched you answer over and over again.) We hope slowly but surely, over the next year, guests will increase at The Gathering meal that this may become a nurturing strengthening place for others to experience and know Christ. I hope you’ll attend that meal with the purpose of being a nest builder for others.
Community Life: What’s Happening at Old Bethel
The Gathering resumes September 9. Meals at 5:30; Classes and small groups begin at 6:15. The fall term classes include a study of 1 Peter led by Nancy Bellinger, an inductive Bible study with Pastor Jen, paper crafting & card making with Cheryl Platt & Carolyn Long, Interactive Family Devotion time with Pastor Matthew, and coming soon, ESL courses!
At the Ad Council meeting on September 28 at 7pm in Fellowship Hall, I will offer a report from the 118 (and counting) folks who offered important ministry insights at the Hearts & Stories gatherings. This information was gathered from over ¼ of the worshipping congregation. You all will help determine next steps in living the mission and vision God has called this congregation to.
Habitat for Humanity Methodist Build: Habitat for Humanity helps empower people to move into safe and secure homes. Each homeowner completes hundreds of hours of education and sweat equity in their new home and future. We have the opportunity to join in changing one family, their future generations, and ultimately the neighborhood in which that home is built. You don’t need any skills, just sign up and come. Openings are still available for the October 16 and 22 shifts. Sign up at the Habitat for Humanity table in the lobby or contact Ric Gasaway at 894-1431.
Serving Christ Together,